March 13 coronavirus news
President Trump said Friday he does not currently support the House Democrats’ coronavirus bill, which would among other things provide paid leave to Americans who can’t go into work during the pandemic.
“We just don’t think they’re giving enough, we don’t think the Democrats are giving enough,” Trump said during an appearance in the Rose Garden.
"We thought we had something, but all of a sudden they didn’t agree to certain things,” Trump said of Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke eight times Friday as they worked to negotiate a coronavirus response all sides can support, although sticking points over the paid leave aspects of the legislation remain.
"They’re not doing what’s right for the country,” Trump said.
President Trump said he is experiencing no symptoms of the coronavirus despite meeting last week with a Brazilian official who tested positive for coronavirus.
"No. We have no symptoms whatsoever," Trump said, in response to a question from a reporter in the Rose Garden about whether he is planning to take any kind of precautionary measure to protect him and his staff.
He said he had a "fantastic meeting" with Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro whose aide tested positive for coronavirus after the meeting with Trump. Trump pointed out that Bolsonaro tested negative.
President Trump was asked Friday if there were other specific measures the administration plans to undertake in response to the coronavirus.
“We’re going to be releasing a paper in about two hours stating quite a few other steps, very important ones,” Trump said during a White House Rose Garden news conference
He didn’t offer more details.
President Trump said he's considering adding the UK into the list of European countries with travel restrictions to the US — and he could take others off the list.
Trump said Wednesday he was sharply restricting travel to the United States from more than two dozen European countries. This list did not include the UK, which has seen a rise in coronavirus cases since the announcement.
"We may have to include them in the list of countries that we will, you could say, ban or whatever it is, during this period of time," Trump said when asked why he did not include the UK on the list. "The numbers have gone up fairly precipitously over the last 24 hours. "
He continued: "And we may be adding a couple of others. And we may, frankly, start��thinking about taking some off."
President Trump announced new measures aimed at easing the burden of student loans as universities and colleges across the country shut their doors, as well as measures aimed at taking advantage of low oil prices.
“I’ve waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies, and that will be until further notice,” Trump said during an appearance in the Rose Garden, noting the number of schools that have sent students home amid the growing coronavirus outbreak.
The President also said he has directed the Secretary of Energy “to purchase large quantities of crude oil for the US strategic reserves.”
Oil prices have tumbled in recent days – particularly as the demand for jet fuel has plummeted as global travel slows dramatically amid various bans on international movement.
“That’s something that would have not even been possible a week ago,” Trump said of the large-scale purchase he was ordering the Energy Department to make.
“So we’re going to fill it up, it’s a good time to fill it up,” he said of the strategic crude oil reserves.
President Trump continues to shake hands with corporate chiefs in the Rose Garden, even as health experts warn against the practice in a bid to prevent community spread.
Trump, who has come into contact with at least one person who tested positive for coronavirus, has a self-avowed dislike of shaking hands.
But he couldn't seem to shake the habit on Friday until at last a CEO offered an elbow bump instead of a handshake.
President Trump said the emergency orders issued today will also "confer broad new authorities" to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Azar will be able to "waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals — all hospitals — and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus," he said.
That includes waivers of some federal licensing requirements, waivers to critical access limits on numbers of beds and lengths of stays, and waivers to rules to bring additional physicians on board at certain hospitals.
A source familiar with the President's plans says Trump is declaring both a national emergency and invoking the Stafford Act.
What this means:
- The Stafford Act is what frees up the extra federal funding and allows access to the funds.
- The national emergency gives access to expanded authorities for the executive branch.
President Trump announced that private labs and vaccine developers will be able to provide five million coronavirus tests within a month.
He also claimed that drive-through testing sites will be set up to make coronavirus tests available to more people and more quickly, something that has been implemented in other countries.