The President held his daily press conference yesterday and made several announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcements included:
- The President standing with Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner; Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator; and Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, repeated an announcement from earlier this week that human testing on a vaccine trial had begun in phase one. The President said that the government would be pursuing more antiviral therapies to treat the virus.
- The President announced that a common malaria drug, Hydroxychloroquine, was approved by FDA to treat COVID-19 by prescription and has shown encouraging results to date. Lab studies have indicated that the drug could keep the virus from invading human cells.
- On testing, VP Mike Pence said that tests were available in all 50 states, but that more would be available soon. Dr. Birx said that a large backlog of pending tests would be released in the next two to three days. The President later said in the question and answer portion of the press conference that people should rely on doctors' recommendations on whether they should receive a test.
- On medical supplies, the VP said companies including Honeywell and 3M would increase “by the millions” the number of available N-95 masks for healthcare workers, and said that the government was working to increase the number of ventilators that could be stockpiled to assist the patients with severe cases of the virus.
- The President touted the second stimulus package he signed after the U.S. Senate's passage yesterday, while looking ahead to the work with the U.S. Senate on the $1 trillion+ package to come.
- Department of Defense will make 5 million respirator masks and 2000 ventilators available for use.
- FEMA is activated in every region at the highest level.
- Vice President Mike Pence said that he and the president would meet by teleconference with the nation’s governors later in the day at FEMA headquarters.