Trump April 17

This is the April 17 COVID-19 briefing from President Donald Trump.

Trump said he just spoke with faith leaders.

The guidelines for reopening states are science- and fact-based. Whitehouse.gov/opening america is the website.

Over 80 million Americans received stimulus direct deposits. Visit irs.gov to check on the status. Fewer than 1 percent had problems.

The Agriculture Department will oversee $19 billion in relief for farmers and ranchers to cope with the fallout of the pandemic. Direct payments and mass purchases of dairy, meat and produce to get food to people in need.

USDA also will give$ 14 billion in July to help farmers and ranchers.

Sonny Perdue, Agriculture secretary:

We’ve heard a lot about our food supply chain. It begins with farmers and ranchers. They were hit hard by the coronavirus.

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The $19 billion has 2 parts. 1, direct payment of $16 billion to farmers, ranchers and producers who had big losses. We want to pay quickly. 2, the USDA will buy $3 billion in fresh produce dairy and meat to give to Americans in need through food banks and other organizations. To avoid plowing over or dumping milk.

The USDA will do everything in our power to implement this quickly.

Trump:

Over 3.78 million virus tests have been done.

We have the most robust and accurate test system.

Over 660,000 Abbott ID Now tests have been distributed.

The saliva test is two days from being released.

Hospitals and academic groups done nearly 600,000 tests.

The FDA with Gates Foundation and others will expand essential swabs, including a new polyester swab.

We’re now the king of ventilators. We have thousands under construction. Those can be sent to the states if needed. What we’ve done in ventilators is amazing. I spoke to Mexican president today and said we would help him with ventilators. We will help other countries.

There have been partisan voices about our reopening and testing capacity.

Vice President Mike Pence:

The strong partnership of the federal government with states has led to progress.

We continue to see new cases low and steady on the West Coast. See declines in New York and Detroit.

The president today approved a major disaster declaration for American Samoa. Now all states are territories are under a major disaster declaration, the first time this has happened in American history.

33,000 National Guardsmen are on duty. 5,500 active duty military have deployed to nine states. That includes 10 hospitals in New York City.

The guidelines to open America. First is the criteria we hope will guide governors in reopening either statewide or county level. We also outlined the state responsibilities. Governors will make the decisions on reopening.

We sent governors a list of supplies FEMA sent them. We will speak with them Monday about that.

FEMA coordinated the delivery of millions of pieces of medical equipment.

On testing resources, we continue to work with states about expanding testing. Traditional testing that happens at the CDC or state labs is designed for diagnostic testing. The president brought together leading labs and six weeks ago we had done 25,000 tests. Today, have done 3.7 million tests. Labs and hospitals are running 120,000 tests a day. We believe states could more than double the amount of daily testing today simply by activating all of the labs.

The FDA is working on an antibody test that could add 20 million tests before the end of April.

Given the guidance in the opening guidelines, states that meet the criteria for phase 1 and working on the tests, we believe today there is enough testing to meet the requirements for phase 1.

Dr. Anthony Fauci:

One test is to determine if a person is infected. Another test is for a person who was infected and to see if they are protected against future infections.

The test for infected: This is a nucleic acid test. It is not easy. It is sensitive. What is misunderstood, if you get a test today, that does not mean that tomorrow or later, if you get exposed…you would have to continue testing on multiple days.

We need to contact trace.

Early on, we had a problem that had to be corrected, and it was corrected. It was a technical problem.

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