Here is a summary of President Donald Trump’s March 31 coronavirus press conference:
“We’re at war with a deadly virus.”
Each person has a choice to save lives by doing the right things. Each person is being asked to sacrifice.
The 15 days of social distancing, which ended today, were extended to April 30.
Today, Treasury and SBA announced more details on the paycheck protection program from the $2 trillion relief bill. $150 billion to be available from lending partners for 2 months, forgiven if businesses keep paying workers, including sole proprietors. April 3 is when it begins.
Trump spoke to internet and phone providers who are keeping services flowing under increased strain. Everyone is using data and making calls.
The government is providing a “massive” amount of medical supplies to the states and is holding back 10,000 ventilators for the coming surge so the nation can move it into place. Michigan, New Jersey, New York are among states that received ventilators.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is opening hospitals in eight states. In Michigan, FEMA will give a 250-bed field hospital, among others receiving hospitals.
FEMA gave 100 housing trailers for housing needs.
Hospitals have new flexibilities to care for patients who are not infected; expectant mothers now can go to special areas for deliveries in hospitals.
The State Department has organized a large evacuation plan; since Jan. 29 over 25,000 Americans from over 50 countries returned home where many were “stuck.”
This is going to be a “painful two weeks” with more cases and deaths.
“It’s really going to be like a burst of light” once the situation gets better. “This is the time for all Americans to come together and do their part.”
He praised Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse, as well as doctors, nurses, truckers and others. He praised the courage of hospital workers.
“The country’s come together like we’ve never seen it before. We will prevail, we will win.”
Dr. Deborah Birx of the coronavirus task force:
Mitigation: The community must do things in 30 days to make a difference. She showed a graph from one modeling based on mitigations and how steeply depress the curve. Had 1.5 to 2.2 million deaths in U.S. without mitigation. Their studies on social distancing and from people staying home and washing hands and not touching faces…shows lower hill to 100,000 to 200,000 deaths, “which is still way too much.”
Another model, by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, used Italy and Spain data on ventilator and hospital bed needs and deaths. This assumes full mitigation and is updated daily. It predicts the next two weeks, by April 15, there will be 2,214 deaths in the U.S.
Washington State and California implemented strong responses and are faring better in case-load than states like New York.
New York and New Jersey have high rates. The administration’s goal is to keep the other 48 states at a low volume.
The cases in Italy: They are entering the fourth week of full mitigation and that is making a difference.
It is stressful to follow the guidelines but it is more stressful for the hospital workers on the front lines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci:
There are two opposing forces. The virus, if left to its own devices, will create many deaths. The other is mitigation. These are revealing bits of data from Italy. It doesn’t happen at once, it has steps. “We are convinced mitigation is doing the trick for us.” The increase of new cases at a certain rate, when it levels off, leads to fewer hospitalizations, which leads to less use of ICU capacity, which leads to fewer deaths.
ICU and deaths lag behind the lower rate of new cases per day like in Italy and possibly, they are seeing, in New York. In the next several days to week, however, there will be a surge. “We cannot be discouraged by that; the mitigation is working.” The goal is to get hotspots like New York get around that curve, and prevent clusters from getting to that spike; the answer is mitigation.
The first 15 days have had an effect. The reason for 30 more is to not take the foot off the accelerator but press it down. “We are a very strong and a resilient nation … this is tough.” But this will answer the problem.
Vice President Mike Pence:
“We have reason to believe it’s working.”
The president has declared 29 major disaster declarations and is making funding available for the National Guard. FEMA reports 17,000 National Guard troops have been activated.
More than 1.1 million tests have been completed. Each governor has been reminded it’s important to report results daily to the CDC. The coronavirus task force reminded governors to use the National Guard when necessary to move medical supplies from warehouses to hospitals.
More than 11.6 million N95 masks have been distributed. Other stats: over 8,100 ventilators; and millions of face shields and surgical masks and gloves.