The Trump administration is stepping up the fight against coronavirus.

The White House Task Force held a press briefing today before a dramatically smaller pool of White House reporters due to the new “coronavirus seating chart”.

President Trump stepped onto the podium to say that they are stepping up as much as they can and that they are making progress with vaccines. 

Telehealth

One of the new measures Trump with his team is taking is a dramatic expansion of teledoctors at no additional costs for patients. This “historic breakthrough that has not been done before” will include “Skype and Facebook”, Trump said.

Trump urged everyone to use telehealth, stressing that such an expansion on this scale has never been used before. Today’s announcement allows for virtual check-ups and patients will be able to get a wide range of health services. “This is a part of our larger effort at mitigation”, the team conveyed at the briefing.  

The shortage of prescription drugs is not likely, Trump reassured. He also said that they ordered a massive number of ventilators and that he gave the authorization to governors to make direct orders. 

Restaurants 

Trump said that he talked to the fast food industry on the phone, talking in light of the latest 15 Days to Slow Down the Spread guidance so that drive-through and pick up can be played in the weeks ahead.

“They are keeping it open and with a smaller staff”, Trump said. 

Call to all Americans to make temporary changes 

The Trump White House is asking everyone to work from home and make temporary changes to protect the health of the population.“If we do this right, our country and the world quite frankly, will be much better”, he said.

“Enjoy your home”, Trump said to all Americans who had prior travel plans. To those who had plans to go abroad to “enjoy your living room”.

Modeling: “we have to save lives”

“The model we have is we want to save a lot of lives. Boris in the UK,  you saw what happened, they took a different approach first and now he is doing a similar thing to what we are doing”, Trump commented.

“We had a conversation yesterday”, he revealed. 

“Everything is going to come back, the lives are not going back”, The President added. 

The Trump administration is introducing free testing and paid medical and sick leave for those affected with coronavirus. “At my direction, Mnuchin is having meetings about additional stimulus packages”, Trump said adding that he is seeing a “great spirit from both Republicans and Democrats”. He also mentioned a productive phone call with Andrew Cuomo given that New York is the number one hot spot and that they are working together with FEMA. 

“My conversation with Andrew Cuomo was a very good one and a very productive one and I appreciate that”, Trump said. 

“It’s going to pop”, Trump shared his optimistic outcome about the economy and he expressed hope that “we are going to win much sooner than we hope”.

“One day we’re going to be standing up here and say we won”, he said. 

He also had a meeting with grocery stores.“Buy less”, Trump insisted simply. 

Pence then took the podium saying that testing is happening all over the country. “You do not need the results of testing to know what you should do. President Trump’s 15-day coronavirus guidelines are advice for every American” the Vice President added, despite the fact that many areas are reporting a lack of testing kits and supplies.

“We would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of industrial masks to local hospitals as they are perfectly acceptable for healthcare workers,” Pence said. 

Payroll tax holiday and cash for Americans

Steve Mnuchin addressed the podium before going to the Hill where he is supposed to present the economic stimulus plan to the Senate and conduct the conversations with the House. The idea is to work with both parties to come up with economic support for American workers and companies. 

“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately . . . Americans need cash now . . . And I mean now, in the next two weeks”, said Mnuchin about a significant shift the Administration is taking to help Americans. 

Steven Mnuchin also announced a measure to defer IRS payments. “If you owe a payment to the IRS, you can defer up to 1 million as an individual, interest-free and penalty-free for up to 90 days”, Mnuchin clarified. Secretary of the Treasury said that those Americans who can file on April 15, 2020, should do so. 

Mnuchin also said that they want to pass the measures “very quickly” and that they will offer loan guarantees and stimulus packages to American workers and businesses.

Asked about giving $1000 to every American, Mnuchin said that “we don’t need to send them to people who make a million dollars”, but they are looking into this option for those in need.  

“We are going to do something, we have a pretty good idea of what we are going to do”, he said. “This is now”, Mnuchin added. “This is something that has to be done”. Mnuchin continued by stating that “this is no fault of the American workers and we will use all the tools we have” 

“We are going big,” added the President when talking about the administration’s solutions for the crisis.

Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...