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WATCH LIVE: Trump holds press conference amid U.S. COVID-19 outbreak

President Trump is shortly going to do a live stream. He is expected to announce that he is declaring a National Emergency. He is declaring an emergency and allowing access to up to 50 billion dollars. States are going to be setting up emergency centers. He asked every hospital in the country to use their emergency plans. He is giving broad authority to the HHS Secretary and giving maximum authority to hospitals. Hospitals can waive laws to allow them to implement virtual health services. Federal licensing requirements will be waived allowing doctors to work across state lines. Many other rules are being waived in regard to hospitals. 

He announced new partnerships with the private sector to do coronavirus testing. The FDA has approved a new test from Roche, which will increase the availability of tests. The new Thermo-Fischer test is expected to be approved within 24 hours. Drive-through tests will become available in more areas. Google is producing a website to self-assess if the test is needed and to direct people to a testing location. High throughput testing should allow results from the drive-through testing within 24 hours. More information on the website will be available by Sunday night. 

Parking lots will be available from Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Target, and other retailers will be available for drive-through testing. 

All student loans held by the government will have their interest waived for the time being. 

The president also announced very large purchases of oil products for the national reserve while prices on the market are depressed. 

All Americans returning from Europe will be screened and asked to take part in a voluntary 14-day quarantine. 

Nursing homes are being asked to suspend all visits with some special exceptions such as end of life. 

The President was asked where the coronavirus bill stands in Congress. He said he does not support the current bill because the Democrats are not giving enough in the bill. 

 “We just don’t think they’re giving enough, we don’t think the Democrats are giving enough,” Trump said.

Some questions were raised in regard to the availability of testing. The President continues to insist that testing is available for anyone who needs the test,  reports seem to be that this is not true. Vice President Pence indicated that testing will be available very soon under the new programs. This issue still appears to be unresolved and the story from the White House seems to remain different from reports from the field. Some of this appears to revolve around a definition of whether a particular patient "needs" a test or not. It is believed that the automated equipment will allow ramping up of tests and that results will soon be available within 24 hours of when the samples are received. 

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It appears that the national website to get testing was a large exaggeration. 

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Published

March 13, 2020

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