The coronavirus pandemic has completely derailed the 2020 presidential campaigns. While Trump has a bully pulpit and turns daily briefings into political rallies, challengers including Vice President Joe Biden cannot compete for visibility or reach. We will do our part, as much as possible, to broadcast their messages so that voters may discern for themselves who should be elected to lead this country. This is from the Joe Biden campaign, which came before Trump, switching focus from the 10 minutes he spent concerned about the spread of the disease and having an adequate health care system, turned again to prioritize the economy, saying he would look to end measures in a matter of weeks (not months) designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to goose the economy. Trump said that the economic impact could become worse than COVID-19 itself. “We cannot let cure be worse than the problem,” causing the medical community to scratch heads.The desire to prioritize economic health over people is echoed by other Republicans and rightwingers. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick saidlots of grandparents would be willing to die in order to save the economy for their grandchildren. This is from the Biden campaign, in advance of Trump’s March 23 briefing–Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features.
Five Questions for Donald Trump
at Today’s Briefing
As Trump Attempts to Spin Away His Historic Failure to
Combat the Coronavirus, Here Are Five Questions He Needs to Answer at Today’s
1. Why do you continue to
support efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and kick tens of millions
of Americans off their insurance in the middle of a global pandemic?
Ten years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law,
expanding access to quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans.
But, even in the midst of a global pandemic, Donald Trump continues to lead
fellow Republicans in efforts to do away with the law and the critical
protections it put in place.
Over 20 million Americans have received health insurance through the ACA, and
it’s given better care and peace of mind to countless others — that’s why Vice President Biden sent a
letter today to President Trump and Republican leaders
demanding that they drop their efforts to jeopardize Americans’ health care.
2. Why did you put the
profits of big corporations ahead of desperately needed medical supplies for
health care workers, first responders, and coronavirus victims?
New reporting today from CNN shows
that Trump abruptly reversed himself on using the Defense Production Act to
speed up the manufacture of critical medical equipment because big businesses
aggressively lobbied the White House out of fear of “profit loss.”
3. Why did you ignore the
repeated warnings of your own intelligence officials in January and February
about the impending risk of the coronavirus and decide to downplay the threat
instead of preparing a response?
The Washington Post reported that
Trump ignored repeated warnings from top intelligence officials in January and
February that the coronavirus was spreading globally and that it posed a dire
threat to the safety of the United States, with one official telling the Post
that “the system was blinking red.”
Instead of preparing for the imminent spread of coronavirus in America, Trump repeatedly ignored experts
and downplayed its significance, claiming, “it’s going to disappear.
One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.” The result: a “chaotic” response as
basic needs for tests and life-saving equipment go unmet, and as Administration
officials scramble to cover up for Trump’s lies about the response.
While Trump was ignoring the experts and downplayed the threat of the
coronavirus, Vice President Biden laid out a clear-eyed vision in January for
how we could come together as a country to stop the emerging pandemic and has
built on that with a comprehensive plan to
combat the coronavirus.
4. Why did you take China’s
word and praise Xi’s response for weeks as the coronavirus continued to spread,
ignoring Vice President Biden’s warning about their misleading statements?
Now Trump has laughably pivoted to
criticizing China, attempting to rewrite history and brush aside countlessexamples of him heapingpraise on Xi and
the Chinese government. Moreover, is Trump saying that he wasn’t supposed to
take steps to protect the American people simply because this virus emerged in
5. Why are you supporting a
$500 billion slush fund for corporations with no strings attached and no
protections for workers?
With America’s economy teetering, and with countless families facing financial
ruin, Trump continues to back a massive corporate bailout package with almost
no conditions, and no restraints on corporations using taxpayer dollars for
executive bonuses and stock buybacks.
That’s why Vice President Biden has called for workers and families to be put
first in any stimulus package — with no blank checks for big corporations — so
Americans will have the financial support they need to weather this storm.
Today, on the 10th anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law and expanding access to quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans, Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter to President Trump, State Attorneys General, and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves calling on them the drop the lawsuit against the landmark legislation, which would strip millions of their health insurance and gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions—during a global pandemic. Below is the text of Vice President Biden’s letter:
March 23, 2020
Dear President Trump, State Attorneys General, and Governor
All across this nation, Americans are anxious and afraid about the impact the
deadly COVID-19 pandemic is already having on their lives, their families, and
their ability to pay their bills. Individuals and families are stepping up to
do their part––staying home, taking individual precautions and implementing
social distancing, and making donations to support food banks and other vital
service providers, all to protect those most at-risk from the virus in our
communities. Their level of dedication should be matched by their elected
At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing
vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that
you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans
of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA),
including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to
pre-existing conditions. No American should have the added worry right now that
you are in court trying to take away their health care. You are letting partisan rancor and politics
threaten the lives of your constituents, and that is a dereliction of
your sworn duty. I am therefore
calling on each of you to drop your support of litigation to repeal the ACA.
This Monday, March 23, marks 10 years since President Obama signed into law the
ACA. It was—and still is—a big deal for our country, because having
health insurance isn’t just about being able to access health care when you
need it, it’s about the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if your kid
gets sick, you will be able to get them the care they need, or that if you have
an accident, you won’t have to also worry about how to pay your medical bills.
During a public health crisis, it’s part of the assurance that you can seek the
treatment you and your loved ones need. I was proud to stand with President
Obama every day of our Administration, but no day more so than when he signed
the ACA, because of the real security it delivered for every day American
Since 2010, 20 million Americans have gained access to health insurance
coverage. But the ACA also helps tens of millions more Americans across the
country. It is the reason 100 million people with pre-existing
conditions—including conditions like asthma and diabetes that make them at
higher-risk for adverse health impacts from the—don’t have to worry about being
charged more or denied coverage. It is the reason insurance companies can’t
tell patients that they’ve hit an annual or lifetime cap on care.
The litigation you are supporting—Texas
v. U.S.—jeopardizes every single one of those protections and
threatens the peace of mind and access to care for hundreds of millions of
Americans. There is no underlying constitutional flaw with the Affordable Care
Act. In fact, the Supreme Court twice upheld the constitutionality of the law.
The only reason this new case gained traction was because Congressional
Republicans decided to amend the law and zero-out the penalty for not being
insured, and legal experts from across the ideological spectrum have concluded
that this new argument—that this change invalidates the entire law—is legally
The purpose of your suit is to destroy the ACA. Make no mistake: If the ACA did
not exist right now, in this public health crisis, tens of millions of people
would not have health insurance. 100 million would not have protections for the
kind of underlying conditions that make them even more vulnerable to the impact
of COVID-19. Insurance companies would be allowed to place caps on care
provided to individuals. And if you succeed in killing it next year, you’ll put
countless Americans at risk in the next pandemic.
If there was ever a moment to set aside politics, it is now. I have called for
making all testing, treatment, and any eventual vaccine free of charge,
regardless of whether an individual is insured. That is what is needed to
defeat this virus. The last thing we need right now is people avoiding seeking
care because they can’t afford it. But people will still have medical needs not
directly related to COVID-19, which is why every American needs access to
high-quality, affordable health insurance and the pre-existing condition
protections that the law guarantees.
You have in your power the ability to make life safer, healthier, and a little
bit easier for your constituents. All you have to do is drop your support for
this ill-conceived lawsuit, which is even more dangerous and cruel in this
moment of national crisis. History will judge all of us by how we respond to
this pandemic. The public health imperative we now face is bigger than
politics, and it requires all of us to summon the courage to lead and to do
what is right for the American people.
47th Vice President of the United States
It is stunning that Grim Reaper McConnell, who held up the first House coronavirus stimulus bill for days, is now attacking Senate Democrats for refusing to rubberstamp a $2 trillion giveaway to corporate insiders and CEOs, raising the alarm (get this) that waiting until noon would mean a whole morning of Wall Street sinking further. A morning in exchange for the health and well being of Americans and the economy. The idea that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who made a bundle on the misery of the 2008 Bush Great Recession using just these same tactics, will personally decide what companies get bailed out is absurd – and a clear clue is that they want to keep secret who they are handing money to for 6 months.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Democrats have a better plan for immediate relief to Americans who will be most harmed financially now and perhaps for the rest of their lives: erase student debt, use the mechanisms you already have: expand unemployment insurance, disability, social security. Instead of simply incentivizing companies to not do anything and still collect up to $10 million in loans that would be forgiven (Mnuchin will choose who gets what), purchase goods and services needed now; evoke the war powers to require factories to reconfigure to produce vitally needed medical equipment and put in purchase orders for future production, say electric cars, long-life batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and especially medical supplies which will give the companies the needed cash flow to get through. Then test everyone to determine who is already immune and can return to work, rather than lock people in for six months, nine months, until the hypothetical “herd immunization” number is reached.
At this point, projections call for 40 to 80 percent of people to become infected, and deaths from one million to two million. Trump and his Keystone Cops administration of corrupt, inept thugs have no clue how to keep the numbers down to a minimum, and keep people and the economy healthy. Vice President Joe Biden, running for president, offered his own criticism and plan in a speech – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Vice President Joe Biden on Combating Coronavirus (COVID-19)
I hope you and your family are doing well in these difficult, anxious, and confusing times.
Like all families, the Biden family is adjusting to new ways: less time together, more worrying about friends and relatives, concern about those isolated – or suffering – due to the coronavirus.
As Americans, we may be physically apart, but we are truly all in this together.
And let me say something right up front: When we have stood as one, this nation has never been defeated. And we are not going to be defeated now.
The pandemic of 1918. The Great Depression. Two World Wars. 9/11.
We overcame them all.
And out of each crisis – we emerged stronger.
And we will again.
This new enemy may be unseen – but we have the tools, the expertise, and, most important, the will and the spirit to defeat it.
But we need to move – and we need to move fast.
It matters for the public health. And it matters for our economy.
Later today, you will hear from the President in his daily briefing.
These briefings are an important opportunity to inform and reassure the American people
They’re not a place for political attacks. Or to lash out at the press.
They’re about the American people.
So I hope today and in the days ahead, the president will give us the unvarnished truth. That’s what the American people need and deserve.
I hope he lets medical experts and FEMA leaders and others carrying out the work take center stage so we can hear directly from them.
And I hope we hear less talk and see more evidence of fast action.
My principal focus today – and every day – will be on what we should do to get this response fixed, to save lives, and to provide economic assistance to the tens of millions of Americans who need it now – and who will need it in the weeks and months ahead.
It starts with adopting a mindset of real urgency.
For too long, the warning signs were ignored.
For too long the Administration said the threat was “under control,” “contained,” like a “flu.” The president says no one saw this coming. That’s just not true.
Our own intelligence officials were warning of the coronavirus threat in January.
Just based on public information, I warned that this threat would get worse way back on January 27, and urged the need to put science first, draw on emergency funds to get the response started, and think about invoking disaster powers to respond.
Many of us talked about the need to get U.S. scientists on the ground in China to see first-hand what was happening, rather than relying solely on China.
My point is not simply that the president was wrong.
My point is that the mindset that was slow to recognize the problem and treat it with the seriousness it deserves, is still too much a part of how the president is addressing the problem.
South Korea detected their first case of coronavirus on the same day that we did.
But they had tests and a sophisticated tracing program to stop the spread of the virus, so they didn’t have to put the country on lockdown.
We had none of that.
So we are left with only the extreme social distancing measures currently in place.
That’s a failure of planning and preparation by this White House.
Today, months later, Americans who need to be tested still have no access to tests in many parts of the country. And in many places, our health care system teeters on the brink of collapse.
Hospital beds are filling. Doctors and nurses are already running out of critical equipment.
The federal government needs to coordinate getting medical supplies out to every corner of our country so we don’t have governors competing against one another.
As late as yesterday, we are being told that the president still has not activated his authority under the Defense Production Act to direct American manufacturers to make essential supplies.
Trump keeps saying he’s a wartime president— well, then, he should act like one.
To paraphrase a frustrated President Lincoln writing to an inactive General McLellan during the Civil War: “If you don’t want to use the army, may I borrow it?”
We need to get in motion today what should have been set in motion weeks ago.
Any public health expert will tell you that in a crisis like this you can’t move too fast – you can only move too slow.
Let me be clear: Donald Trump is not to blame for the coronavirus. But he does bear responsibility for our response.
And I, along with every American, hope he steps up and starts to get this right.
This isn’t about politics.
There is simply too much at stake – too many lives, too many livelihoods, too many homes and families and businesses and communities at risk.
I’ve laid out a very detailed, in-depth plan for what we should do. You can read it all on JoeBiden.com.
We need immediate action –on testing, on research for treatments and vaccines, on leading a global response to beat the virus everywhere.
But today, I want to focus on just four key areas for action.
First, the President must take immediate steps to increase the capacity of our health care system to treat the sickest coronavirus patients, safely.
I’m glad the president has finally activated the National Guard.
Now we need the Armed Forces and the National Guard to help with hospital capacity, supplies, and logistics.
We need to activate a reserve corps of doctors and nurses to beef up the number of responders dealing with this crush of cases, and allow doctors and nurses trained abroad, not currently at work in the U.S., to temporarily work alongside our overburdened health care providers.
Second, the President must use the Defense Production Act to radically increase the supply of critical goods needed to treat patients and protect our health care workers and first responders, including protective gear like face masks, and critical equipment like ventilators so desperately needed in our hospitals.
It means working with our allies and partners to get supplies from overseas when available, and dispatching U.S. military assets to retrieve them quickly.
It means federal coordination of the supply chain to accelerate deliveries and get them to the right places. And much more.
We are the nation that built the arsenal of democracy in the 1940s. We can make personal protective equipment for health care workers in 2020.
Third, the President needs to end the infighting and bickering in his own administration, listen to the scientists, and provide clear guidance.
The American people are not getting clear leadership, clear action, or clear accountability.
Management matters in a crisis. I’ve been there in the Situation Room. There are thousands of steps that need to be taken, all at once.
You need to be planning not just for today and tomorrow, but for the day after.
Is this White House actively planning for what it will take for America to begin to return to something resembling normal life?
Just waiting and seeing isn’t going to cut it.
What are the conditions required? What capacities should be in place? What protections and protocols do we need to ensure the virus doesn’t simply start spreading again?
They need to start planning now, so the current measures stay in place for as long as they are needed, but not longer.
And fourth, the President needs to set the right priorities for our economic response.
Our guiding principle must be to keep everyone paid through this crisis.
We should be doing everything in our power to keep workers on payrolls, make small businesses healthy, and help the economy come out the other side strong.
The Federal Government should provide the resources to make that happen, while still protecting the American taxpayer.
Unfortunately, as of last night, President Trump and Mitch McConnell were offering a plan that let big corporations off the hook. They proposed a $500 billion slush fund for corporations, with almost no conditions.
Under their plan, the Trump Administration could even allow companies to use taxpayers’ money for stock buybacks and executive pay packages.
They wouldn’t have to make commitments to keep workers employed.
They wouldn’t even have to tell Americans where the money goes for months.
Today, there are active efforts to fix this bill so it focuses on workers and families and small businesses rather than no-strings corporate bailouts.
Here’s my bottom line: Millions of small businesses, like the family-run restaurant that is trying to stay open and pay its workers – they should get the funds they need.
Big companies will need help, too — but no blank checks.
If corporations take money from taxpayers, they have to make a commitment that they will keep workers on payroll.
The worker who is seeing their wages slashed — they need to be made whole.
Those who do lose jobs – they need strong, sustained, unemployment benefits, whether they are a gig worker or a full-time employee.
The family that will go hungry tonight – they need food on the table.
Social Security checks need to be boosted.
Student debt should be forgiven.
Cash relief needs to go out fast to all of the people who need it the most.
We can act quickly and together.
We can put the politics aside to meet this moment, like Governors all across the nation.
Mike Dewine in Ohio, Larry Hogan in Maryland, Charlie Baker in Massachusetts.
Gavin Newsom in California, Jay Inslee in Washington, Gretchen Witmer in Michigan.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s briefings are a lesson in leadership.
Republicans and Democrats — all are rising to the moment, putting aside politics to do what needs to be done.
But they all are looking to the federal government for more help.
Finally, it’s worth noting that today is the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act. I’m proud of the role I played, alongside President Obama, in bringing Obamacare into law. And I’m proud of its record of achievement.
But also today, in the middle of one of the biggest public health emergencies in generations, the White House and Republican attorneys general are actively pursuing a lawsuit to invalidate the ACA in court.
They are working to strip millions of Americans of their health care and tens of millions of their protections for pre-existing conditions.
I sent them a letter this morning, with a simple request: Withdraw this lawsuit. End this effort to take away people’s health care.
This is not the moment to add additional uncertainty and fear in this nation or to let politics trump doing what is right. Give Americans peace of mind.
In a crisis, character is revealed — and each day we are seeing the courage and heart of Americans shine through.
Our military, our first responders, our doctors, nurses and health care workers, of course.
But also those who we don’t think about as much: the grocery store workers; the mail and package carriers; the workers manufacturing the gear we need, keeping delivery trucks on the road, cooking meals to deliver, and tending our elderly loved ones; the journalists who keep us up to date and hold leaders accountable; the government officials working on this problem, and so many more.
They are putting it all on the line for us. We need to give them all the help they need now. And we need to be sure we never forget what they’ve done.
Let me close with this thought: Deep in the heart of every American, there burns a flame. It’s an inheritance from every generation of Americans that has come before us. It’s why we have overcome every crisis we have ever faced before. It’s what makes this nation special and why we stand apart.
That flame is not going to be extinguished in this moment.
If our leadership does its part, the American people will do their part.
Because here’s the simple truth: The American people have never, ever let this country down.
So, we need to get moving, and moving fast.
This is the United States of America, and there’s not a single thing we can’t do — if we do it together. Thank you.
Cuomo: “My last point is practice
humanity. We don’t talk about practicing humanity, but now if ever there is a
time to practice humanity the time is now. The time is now to show some
kindness, to show some compassion to people, show some gentility – even as a
Trump has played a pathetic game of catch-up to the actual task of getting Americans through the coronavirus pandemic as best as possible, with as few deaths and as little destruction to the economy and society as possible. While he has proved a mendacious inept clog, true leadership has been demonstrated by Governors, especially New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. His press availability today, in which he gave updates on his nonstop effort to increase hospital capacity and obtain necessary protective equipment and medical supplies in anticipation of a surge of patients, was heartening to New Yorkers. It was a speech that hearkened to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was Governor of New York before he was President, leading the nation through the Great Depression and later through World War II. This is a rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks:
Good morning. Happy Saturday.
Welcome to the weekend. I want to give you an update and briefing on where we
are today and then we’re going to go out and do some real work, get out of this
building before we get cabin fever. You know the people who are here today.
From my far right, Simonida Subotic who is in charge of managing
supplies which is a major function for us, Robert Mujica, Director of
Division of the Budget, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, the
great James Malatras who has been a tremendous help here.
Go through the facts, the numbers
are still increasing. We have been seeing that. That’s the line that we’re
tracking. This is all about the increase in the number of cases and managing
the increase in the number of cases to the capacity of our health care system.
What are we doing? We’re reducing the spread and the rate of the spread to
match the increase in the number of cases and increasing hospital capacity at
the same time – just how do our hospitals manage the rate of the
We’re trying to reduce the spread
to over a period of months. Over a period of months our healthcare system can
deal with the numbers. We have moved to zero non-essential workers. You can’t
go below zero so we’re doing everything we can there and we put out new rules
on personal conduct and what people should be doing and how they should be
behaving and where they should be.
Matilda’s Law which is for the
vulnerable population, senior citizens, people with compromised immune systems,
underlying illnesses – that was very specific. As I mentioned we named it for
my mother Matilda because I went through this with my own siblings. How do we
help mom? Where do we bring mom? There was a difference of opinion. The best
health professionals put together guidelines that not only help senior citizens
but also their families who are trying to deal with this. I know it was helpful
to my family and the question among siblings these laws and guidelines
answered. I don’t want to mention which sibling but it turns out that he was
The personal conduct rules and regulations are also very helpful. I want to thank Dr. Fauci who is really an extraordinary American and has given me great guidance and help and assistance in putting together these policies so I’d like to thank him and we’re doing those.
We’re working on every level. Every pistol is firing. Everything that can be done is being done. New Yorkers are lucky. We have a very experienced team that’s doing this. This is not their first rodeo. They’ve been through a number of emergencies on a number of levels.
Increasing hospital capacity – we want to get the capacity of 50,000 thousand up to a
minimum of 75,000. We told the hospitals we’re going to be ending elective
surgeries. We are now working with hospitals to reconfigure the space in the
hospital to get more beds and to find more staff to manage those beds. We’re
working on building new beds. We’re going to go out and review a number of
sites today. I’d like to give the final list to the federal government and the
Army Corps of Engineers today but we’re looking at Javits, SUNY Stony
Brook, SUNY Westbury, the Westchester Convention Center, and I’m going to go
out and take a look at those sites today or the ones I can get to. That would
give us a regional distribution and a real capacity if we can get them up
quickly enough and then increasing supplies which is one of the most critical
We are literally scouting the globe looking for medical
supplies. We’ve identified 2 million N-95
masks which are the high protection masks. We have apparel companies that are
converting to mask manufacturing companies in the State of New York in all
sorts of creative configurations and I want to thank them. I put out a plea
yesterday to ask them for help and we’ve been on the phone with all sorts of
companies who are really doing great work. We’re also exploring the State
of New York manufacturing masks ourselves.
We’re going to send 1 million N95 masks to New York City
today. That’s been a priority for New York
City and 1 million masks won’t get us through the crisis but it’ll make a
significant contribution to New York City’s mask issue and I want to thank
Mayor de Blasio for working in partnership. We’re sending 500,000 N95 masks to
Long Island. We’ve been working with County Executive Laura Curran and County
Executive Steve Bellone and I want to thank them.
We’re gathering ventilators. Ventilators are the most important piece of equipment and
the piece of equipment that is most scarce. We’re gathering them from all
different health facilities across the state and then we’re going to use those
in the most critical areas. We also identified 6,000 new ventilators that we
can actually purchase so that’s a big deal.
From the federal government’s
point of view I’ve spoken to the President a number of times. I spoke to the
Vice President a number of times. They’ve issued a federal disaster declaration
which is a technical act by the federal government but what it basically does
is it allows the federal emergency management agency called FEMA to step in and
assist financially. By that declaration FEMA
would pay 75 percent of the cost of a disaster. New York State would pay 25
percent of the cost. The federal government can waive the 25 percent of the
cost. I’m asking them to waive that 25 percent in this situation. I’ve
worked on many disasters, FEMA has waived the 25 percent. If there’s any
situation where FEMA should waive the 25 percent, this is the situation.
We’re also working with the federal government. We’re
requesting 4 field hospitals at 250 capacity each. That would give us 1000
field hospital beds. We’re going to
be looking at Javits as a location for those field hospitals.
We’re also requesting 4 Army Corps of Engineers temporary hospitals. Those are
the sites I mentioned earlier that I’m going to take a look at. The
SUNY Stonybrook, Westbury, Westchester Convention Center and
also Javits. Javits is so big that it can take the 4 field
hospitals and an Army Corps of Engineers temporary hospital. We’re also
requesting assistance with medical supplies which has been a very big
topic of conversation all across the country.
We’re also asking our
federal congressional delegation to fix a law that was passed on the
coronavirus federal aid because of a technical issue the way the bill was
written, New York State does not qualify for aid. That’s over $6
billion, that is a lot of money and we need the federal delegation to fix that
bill otherwise New York State gets nothing. New York State has more coronavirus
cases than any state in the United States of America. That we should not be
included in the bill, obviously makes no sense.
We’re also going to conduct immediately trials for the new
drug therapy which we have been discussing.
I spoke to Dr. Zucker about it. There is a theory that the drug treatment
could be helpful. We have people who are in serious condition and Dr.
Zucker feels comfortable, as well as a number of other health professionals,
that in a situation where a person is in dire circumstance, try what
you can. The FDA is going to accelerate to New York 10,000 doses. As
soon as we get those doses we will work with doctors, nurses and families on
using those drugs and seeing where we get.
I spoke to the President, he spoke
to this drug therapy in his press conference yesterday and I spoke to him
afterward. I said that New York would be interested and we have the most number
of cases and health professionals have all recommended to me that we try it, so
we’ll try it. We’re also
working on a number of other drug therapies, an anti-body
therapy, a possible vaccine. We have a company here
in New York called Regeneron that’s really showing some
promising results. I exempted them from the no work order, because they couldn’t possibly have a
really significant achievement for us. The new numbers, the more tests you
take, the more positives you find, and I give this caution because I think
people misinterpret the number of new cases. They take that number of new cases
as if it is reflective of the number of new cases, the spread. It is not. The
number of new cases is only reflective of the number of cases you are taking,
right. Where our goal is to find the positive cases, because if we find a
positive case we can isolate that person, and that stops the spread. So we’re
actually looking for positives. The more tests you take, the more positives you
We are taking more tests in New York than anyplace else.
We’re taking more tests per capita than China or South Korea. We’re also taking
more tests than any state in the United States of America. That is actually a great accomplishment. Because if you
remember back, two weeks, which seems like a lifetime now, the whole question
was coming up to scale on tests. How do we get the number of tests up and how
do we get it up quickly? I spoke to the president and the vice president and
said decentralize the testing, let the states do it. I have 200 labs. I can
mobilize quickly. Let us do the tests. They agreed. We’re doing more tests than
any state, so for example, we’ve done
45,000 tests. California has done 23,000, Washington has done 23,000, so
you see how many more tests we are doing. And again, I credit the team that’s
working here, because this is exactly what the mandate was. Perform as many
tests as quickly as you can, and that’s the drive-thrus we’ve put in
place, the hospital management, et cetera. So our numbers should be higher. And
Total number of positive cases now is up to 10,000,
number of new cases has increased by 3,000, let’s go back in case you can’t
read as fast as I can read. 6,000 New York City, 1,300 Westchester, 1,200 in
Nassau. You see the Westchester number
is slowing. We did a New Rochelle containment area. The numbers would suggest
that that has been helpful. So I feel good about that. You see Nassau
increasing, you see Suffolk increasing. So that’s just the wide spread increase
that we have been anticipating. But our hotspot of Westchester is now slowing,
and that’s very good news. New York City, it is the
most dense environment. This virus spreads in density, right. And
that’s what you’re seeing in New York City, obviously, has many more people
than any other specific location in the state. Number of counties are
increasing. You see the blue. I said to you early on that blue is going to take
over the whole state, just the way every state in the United States has now
been covered. Most impacted states, you look at the cases in New York is
10,000, Washington, California, 1,000 each. Does that mean that we have ten
times the number of cases as California or Washington? Or does that mean
we’re doing more tests than California or Washington? The truth is somewhere in
the middle, and nobody can tell you. Total number of people tested, we’re up to
45,000. Number of new tests. This is a rate that we watch. What is the rate of
hospitalization? Again, because this is all about hospital capacity, right, 1,500
out of 10,000, it’s roughly 15 percent of the cases. It’s been running about
14, 15. It’s gone as high as 20 percent, 21 percent. So actually 15 percent
rate of hospitalization is not a bad number. It’s actually down from where it
was. The more refined number is, of those who are hospitalized, how many
require the ventilators, because the ventilators are the piece of equipment
that is most scarce. That’s the next refinement of these numbers that we have
And again, the context on the
numbers is important. We’re talking 10,000 et cetera. You look at any world
health organization or the NIH, or what any of the other countries are saying.
You have to expect that at the end of
the day, 40 percent to 80 percent of the population is going to be infected. So
the only question is, how fast is the rate to that 40 percent, 80 percent,
and can you slow that rate so your hospital system can deal with it. That is
all we’re talking about here. If you look at the 40 to 80 percent, that means
between 7.8 million and 15 million New Yorkers will be affected at the end of
the day. We’re just trying to postpone the end of the day. Again,
perspective, Johns Hopkins, this is not a science fiction movie. You don’t have
to wait to the end of the movie to find out what happens. Johns Hopkins has
studied every case since it started, 284,000, 11,000 deaths, almost 90,000
recoveries, 183,000 still pending. Which tracks everything we know in the State
of New York. Our first case, first case, healthcare worker, 39-year-old female
who was in Iran. She went home, she never went to a hospital, she
recovered, she’s now negative. You get sick, you get
symptoms, you recover. That is true for the overwhelming number of
people. Again, context, people who died in the flu, from the flu, in 2018-2019:
34,000 Americans. 34,000, so when you hear these numbers of deaths, keep it in
perspective. 34,000 people died of the flu. Over 65, 74 percent of the people
were over 65. 25 percent were under 65. So, if you have an underlying illness,
you catch the flu, you can die. More likely if you have an underlying illness,
senior citizens, et cetera, but not necessarily. You have 25 percent under 65
years old die from the flu.
Also, in terms of context,
perspective. Don’t listen to rumors. I
mean, you have such wild rumors out there, and people call me with the craziest
theories. Just, I understand there’s anxiety and stress, but let’s remember
some basic context and facts. Society
functions. Everything works. There’s going to be food in the grocery stores.
There’s no reason to buy a hundred rolls of toilet paper. There really isn’t.
And by the way, where do you even put a hundred rolls of toilet paper? The transportation system functions. The
pharmacy system functions. These things are all going to work. Nonessential
workers, stay home, but the essential workers are staying home, especially the
healthcare workers. There is not going to be any roadblock when you wake up in
the morning that says you can’t leave this place, you can’t leave that place,
right? So if you have a real question, because you think there’s a real concern
from a credible source, contact my team. We have a special website: coronavirus.health.ny.gov, and ask the question
and you will get a real, truthful, factual response.
I have not hidden anything from the people of this state.
I have not tilted facts. Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, the American people deserve the truth, they can handle the truth,
give them the truth. When they don’t get the truth and if you don’t get the
facts, that’s when people should get anxious. If I think I’m being deceived or
there’s something you’re not telling me, or you’re shading the truth, now I’m
anxious. Everything I know, I’ve told you, and I will continue to tell you, and
these are facts, and you hear a rumor, and you want to check it out, go to that
website, these are people who work for me directly, and you will have the
truth. We do have an issue with
younger people who are not complying, and I’ve mentioned it before but it’s not
getting better. You know, you can have your own opinion. You cannot have your
own facts – you want to have an opinion, have an opinion, but you can’t have
your own facts. “Well young people don’t get this disease.” You are
wrong – that is not a fact. 18-49 years
old are 54 percent of the cases in New York State. 54 percent. 18-49 years old.
So you’re not Superman, and you’re not Superwoman, you can get this virus and
you can transfer the virus and you can wind up hurting someone who you love or
hurting someone wholly inadvertently. Social distancing works and you need
social distancing everywhere. There’s a significant amount of
non-compliance, especially in New York City, especially in the parks – I’m
going to go down there today, I want to see what situation is myself, but it
has to be stopped because you are endangering people and if it’s because of
misinformation, if it’s because of noncompliance, I don’t care frankly – this
is a public health issue and you cannot endanger other people’s health. You shouldn’t be endangering your own. But
you certainly have no right to endanger someone else’s.
This is my personal opinion, this is not a fact, you know to me it’s very important in
a situation like this, tell me the facts and then tell me your opinion – this
is my opinion. We talk about social
responsibility, especially young people talk about social responsibility and
they should – we pass a lot of legislation in this building, groundbreaking
legislation, national firsts, on economic rights, highest minimum wage in the
United States of America, human rights, first state to pass marriage equality,
which I believe was a human rights issue, we talk about environmental
responsibility and this state has the most aggressive environmental laws in the
United States of America and I am proud of it, but I also want people to think
about the social responsibility when it comes to public health. We haven’t
talked about it before, not really a field, it’s not really an issue, it’s not
really a hashtag, but social responsibility applies to public health just as it
applies to human rights, and economic rights and environmental rights – public
health, especially in a moment like this, is probably most critical.
So let’s think about that and
let’s act on that. In this crisis, think of yourselves, we are all first responders – your actions can either save or endanger
a life, so we are all first responders. What’s going to happen? We’re going
to get through this. We don’t know how long it’s going to take us to get
through this. Fact is we’re trying to
slow the spread of the virus to a number of months so the healthcare system can
deal with it, so therefore by definition it’s going to be a number of months.
I know people want to hear, “It’s only going to be a matter of weeks and
then it’s going to be fine.” I
don’t believe it’s going to be a matter of weeks. I believe it is going to be a
matter of months, but we are going to get through it, and how long and how well
it takes us to get through it is up to us. It depends on what we do – you
know when you’re sick and you say to the doctor, “Well how long until I
get better?” And the doctor says, “It depends on what you do. If
you follow the advice, you’ll get healthy faster, but it depends on what you
do.” This depends on what we do. China is now reporting no news cases.
Let’s assume that’s true – look at that trajectory, look at that turnaround,
look at what they did, we do have data we can follow. So how long is it going
to take? It depends on how smart and how we responsible are and how diligent we
are. You tell me the percentage of compliance and intelligence and discipline
on social disciplining et cetera? I’ll tell you how long it takes for us to get
Also something that people aren’t really talking about but I think we should start talking about – we talk about the economic consequences of this situation and they are going to be significant, and we are going to have to deal with it and New York will be right on top of it and as aggressive as we are witheverything else. But economic consequences come second – first, is dealing with this crisis. We talk about the economic consequences but we also need to talk about the social consequences. There is no Dow Jones index that we can watch on the screen that is measuring the social consequences and the social decline. But the stress, the anxiety, the emotions that are provoked by this crisis are truly significant, and people are struggling with the emotions as much as they are struggling with the economics. And this state wants to start to address that. I’m asking psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists who are willing to volunteer their time to contact the state and if this works out I would like to set up a voluntary network where people can go for mental health assistance where they can contact a professional to talk through how they are feeling about this. They are nervous, they are anxious, they are isolated. It can bring all sorts of emotions and feelings to the surface. When you are isolated you do not have people to talk to.
So I am asking the professional mental health establishment to contact us. Let us know that you are willing to volunteer time. It would obviously be all electronic. It would not be in person. It would be telephone, it would be Skype, etc. But I would ask you to seriously consider this. Many people are doing extraordinary things during this public health crisis. I ask the mental health community, many of them are looking for a way to participate, this is a way to participate. And if we get enough mental health professionals willing to volunteer their time, we will set up a mental health electronic help center. And we will talk more about that the next few days.
What happens besides how long?
What happens? The bigger question to me
is what do we learn about ourselves through this? As a society, we have
never gone through this. We have never gone through a world war. We have not
gone through any great social crisis. Here in New York, we went through 9/11
which I think is relevant in terms of some feelings that people are now
experiencing. 9/11 transformed society. I was there. I was part of it. You were
never the same after 9/11. You had a sense of vulnerability that you never had
before which I feel to this day. There was a trauma to 9/11. But as a society,
as a country, we have been blessed in that we have not gone through something
as disruptive as this.
So what do we learn about ourselves? I think what we are saying already is a crisis really
brings out the truth about ourselves first of all and about others. And your
see people’s strengths and you see people’s weaknesses. You see society’s
strengths and you see society’s weaknesses. You see both the beauty and
the vulnerability. You see the best in people and you see the worst in people.
You see people rise to the occasion and you see people fall from the burden of
the emotion. So, I think – You take a step back.
hotel CEOs met with the White House on March 17 to discuss urgent economic
recovery solutions needed to protect millions of U.S. hotel employees and
33,000 small businesses as travel grinds to a virtual halt across the country
because of the coronavirus health crisis. From Main Street to major
cities across the country, hotels everywhere are on the verge of shutting their
doors in the coming days – many by the end of this week. With 1 in 25 jobs
supported by the hotel industry, the rapid pace of booking cancellations is
having an immediate, negative ripple effect that risks seeing mom and pop hotel
owners shutter, furlough their employees, hurting community
hotel industry is an industry of people and the current human toll is proving
to be catastrophic. Based on current occupancy estimates, the American Hotel
& Lodging Association (AHLA) says four million total jobs have been
eliminated already or are on the verge of being lost in the next few weeks. In
certain affected markets, including Seattle, San Francisco, Austin and Boston,
hotel occupancy rates are already down below 20 percent and individual hotels
and major operators have already shut down operations.
AHLA, the nation’s leading and largest trade association for hotel industry,
made the case that the economic impact on the hotel industry is already more
severe than 9/11 and the 2008 recession, combined. “The impact of the
coronavirus pandemic on our 33,000 small business owners who operate 66 percent
of hotel properties across the country has been extremely severe with many
considering shuttering and closing their doors for good within days if they
haven’t closed already.”
Rogers, AHLA President and CEO, said the burgeoning COVID-19 health
crisis is unprecedented in its size and scope, and it represents the single
largest decline in travel in modern times.
impact to our industry is already more severe than anything we’ve seen before, including
September 11th and the great recession of 2008 combined,” stated Rogers.
“The White House and Congress can take urgent action to protect countless jobs,
provide relief to our dedicated and hardworking employees, and ensure that our
small business operators and franchise owners – who represent more than half of
hotels in the country – can keep their doors open.”
to an Oxford Economic Study, a 30 percent decline in hotel guest occupancy
could result in the loss of nearly 4 million jobs, with $180 billion of wages
and a $300 billion hit to the GDP – crippling the hotel industry, the local
communities they serve and the U.S. economy.
unprecedented public health crisis has quickly become a catastrophic economic
crisis as well,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel
Association President. “The losses for the travel industry alone are
projected to double the unemployment rate over the next two months and plunge
the country into recession. Small businesses, which make up 83% of travel
businesses, need relief right now if they’re going to be able to keep paying
Oxford study estimates the hotel industry supports 1 in 25 American jobs,
totaling 8.3 million jobs, paying more than $97 billion in wages and salary
income, and contributes nearly $660 billion to the U.S. GDP annually. In
addition to major hotel brands, the hotel industry includes more than 33,000
small businesses, which represent 61 percent of hotel properties in the U.S.
hotel industry leaders laid out several immediate actions the White House and
Congress could take to help the hotel industry protect jobs and help small
business operators. The group focused on two critical goals – retaining and
rehiring employees and keeping hotels from shutting down through access to
liquidity and low interest loans, including for small businesses.
CEOs who participated in the roundtable discussion today at the White House
were hopeful that President Trump and Members of Congress will work together
urgently to provide relief and ensure the industry is positioned to rebound
from the unprecedented impact from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Western Hotels & Resorts President and CEO, David Kong said, “For
nearly 75 years, Best Western has been a brand with small family businesses at
our core. Most of our hotels are owned and operated by hardworking men and
women with their children growing up in the business. For them, their hotels
represent their families’ legacy and their future. Many are being forced to
close their doors with no assurance of when they will be able to reopen. Their
employees are left with no gainful employment and the resultant financial
hardship. It is imperative that the government step in immediately with loan
programs that provide capital and liquidity to help small businesses survive as
well as other employment programs to help the impacted employees. The situation
Hotels International President & CEO, Pat Pacious said, “The
majority of our 13,000 franchisees are small business hotel owners who have to
meet payroll, pay their mortgages every month, and support their families
during this crisis – as well as take care of their guests. As I told the
Administration today, while Choice Hotels is acting to assist our franchisees,
the federal government has a critical role to play in helping minimize the
impact and disruption to the livelihoods of small business hotel owners and
their employees, as well as stabilizing the economy during this difficult and
President and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher J. Nassetta said, “In
Hilton’s 100-year history, we have never seen anything like the current
situation. I am hearing directly from hotel employees concerned about their
mortgage payments and hotel owners worried about making payroll. Nearly eighty
percent of the hotels in our U.S. network are franchise properties that employ
less than 50 people, and we are using every tool in our toolkit to keep these
small businesses viable. Ours is an industry of people serving people, and
that’s why we’re asking Congress and the Administration to help shield them
from the economic impact of the coronavirus, so they can be part of the
recovery that will follow.”
president and CEO, Mark Hoplamazian said, “In our industry, success depends
entirely on the passion and dedication of our people. It is critical that we
take swift action to ensure that our workforce is protected with the proper
healthcare and financial support so that the industry can return in full force
following this unprecedented degree of business interruption.”
Hotels Group CEO Americas, Elie Maalouf said, “The coronavirus
represents a global economic emergency as well as a global health emergency,
and the impact it will have on the hospitality industry is unprecedented. Even
as we’re currently managing this issue to keep our guests and colleagues safe,
and hotel owners secure, we’re committed to doing everything we can to protect
the future of the millions of Americans employed by the hotel industry and
prepare to expedite a return to normal once this crisis passes. We appreciate
the administration’s engagement in this issue and look forward to continuing
this important discussion in the weeks ahead.”
International President and CEO, Arne Sorenson said, “The COVID-19
pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented decline in demand impacting our
hotels and our associates. We are looking to government to support the
hospitality industry through this period of time so we can assist our
associates and hotel owners, many of whom are small businesses.”
Resorts International Chairman & CEO, James Murren said, “Within
days we have transformed from a vibrant industry welcoming people from around
the world, to one experiencing a total shutdown of business. Addressing
this public health emergency required major collective action which is why MGM
shut down our operations. But it comes at a cost to our tens of thousands of
employees, small businesses and communities who depended on us. We look
forward to a productive dialogue on how to ensure that when it is safe, the
gaming industry can be in a position to open our doors so that we and the 2
million jobs that depend can be part of the economic recovery that is to come.”
Hotel Trust is a REIT with 54 hotels with over 13,000 rooms and over 8,000
employees around the country. Our hotels are in most of the hardest hit cities
– Seattle, San Francisco, here in Washington, DC, NYC, Boston, Chicago and
more. As of today, we have had to make the difficult decision to let go over
4,000 employees,” noted Jon Bortz, Board Chair, AHLA and Chairman &
CEO, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust.
“By the end of the month, we expect another 2,000 employees will also be let go, representing over three quarters of our employees. We are looking at closing the doors at more than half of our properties,” Bortz said. “This is the reality we, and countless other owners and operators around the country are facing in the wake of this public health situation.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a three-way agreement with the
Legislature on a bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who
have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The program bill also
includes the permanent comprehensive paid sick leave policy first advanced in
the Governor’s FY 2021 Executive Budget proposal.
This follows the Governor’s announcement last week
that the state will guarantee two full weeks of paid leave for all state
workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine as
a result of the novel coronavirus.
The Governor announced that the state’s drive-through COVID-19 mobile
testing facility opens today on Long Island. The Governor also authorized the
State to open drive-through COVID-19 mobile testing facilities in Suffolk
County, Rockland County and on Staten Island. This follows the success of the
New Rochelle mobile testing center, which opened March 13th. Drive-through
mobile testing facilities help keep people who are sick or at risk of having
contracted coronavirus out of healthcare facilities where they could infect
other people. These facilities are a critical part of the Governor’s
nation-leading program to test thousands of people per day for COVID-19 by this
The Governor also announced that the state is reaching out to qualified
former doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to supplement the
personnel at hospitals. The State Department of Health and the State Education
Department have sent letters to retired health care professionals and all
schools of nursing, public health and medicine encouraging qualified health
care personnel to sign up for on-call work during the COVID-19 crisis.
Healthcare professionals who wish to sign up can contact the State Department
of Health at health.ny.gov/assistance.
Governor Cuomo also directed the Greater New York Hospital Association
and the Healthcare Association of New York State to work with
1199 SEIU to develop a plan to create drop-in child care
opportunities and expand child care facilities at their hospitals to ensure
child care for hospital workforce. They will submit a joint plan to the state
“The single most effective way to contain the spread of this virus
is to ensure people who may have come into contact with it do not interact with
others. Last week I said we would lead by example by guaranteeing two weeks’
pay for state workers who have been quarantined as a result of
covid-19,” Governor Cuomo said. “The paid sick leave
measure we’ve agreed to today expands those protections to all new
Yorkers – because no New Yorker should lose their job or income for following a
critical public health order. This is an extraordinary time in this nation’s
history, and it will go down in the history books as one of those moments of
true crisis and confusion. So my message to New Yorkers is this: Be a little
bit more sensitive, understand the stress, understand the fear, be a little bit
more loving, a little bit more compassionate, a little bit more
comforting, a little bit more cooperative. We are going to get
through it and we are going to get through it together.”
To address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are
subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation, the
Governor’s legislation will provide the following:
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less
than $1 million will provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine
order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability
benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage
replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or
fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least
5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine
order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability
benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage
replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public
employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least
14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the
The provisions of the quarantine legislation are set to take
effect immediately upon passage, ensuring that New York workers will be able to
take advantage of these benefits.
The legislation also includes the comprehensive paid sick leave
proposal that was advanced by the Governor as part of his State of the State
and FY 2021 Executive Budget, which will be effective 180 days after enactment. Specifically,
the legislation provides:
Employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income less
than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of unpaid sick leave each
Employers with 5-99 employees and employers with 4 or fewer
employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5
days of paid sick leave each year.
Employers with 100 or more employees will provide at
least 7 days of paid sick leave each year.
NY Suspends Collection of Medical, Student State
In a separate action, Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James
today announced that — effective immediately — the state will temporarily halt
the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State of New York and
referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection, for at least a
30-day period, in response to growing financial impairments resulting from the
spread of 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Countless New Yorkers have been
impacted — directly or indirectly — by the spread of COVID-19, forcing them to
forgo income and business. In an effort to support these workers and families
and ease their financial burdens, the OAG will halt the collection of
medical and student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the OAG for
collection from March 16, 2020 through April 15, 2020. After this 30-day
period, the OAG will reassess the needs of state residents for a
possible extension. Additionally, the OAG will accept applications
for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the State of New York and
referred to the OAG for collection.
“As the financial impact of this emerging crisis grows, we are
doing everything we can to support the thousands of New Yorkers that are
suffering due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor
Cuomo said. “This new action to temporarily suspend the
collection of debt owed to the state will help mitigate the adverse financial
impact of the outbreak on individuals, families, communities and businesses in
New York State, as we continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of
“In this time of crisis, my office will not add undue stress or
saddle New Yorkers with unnecessary financial burden,” saidAttorney
General James. “New Yorkers need to focus on keeping themselves safe
and healthy from the coronavirus, and therefore can rest assured that state
medical and student debt referred to my office will not be collected against
them for at least 30 days. This is the time when New Yorkers need to rally
around each other and pick each other up, which is why I am committed to doing
everything in my power to support our state’s residents.”
The OAG collects certain debts owed to the State of New York
via settlements and lawsuits brought on behalf of the State of New York and
state agencies. A total of more than 165,000 matters currently fit the criteria
for a suspension of state debt collection, including, but not limited to:
Patients that owe medical debt due to the five state hospitals and the
five state veterans’ home;
Students that owe student debt due to State University of New York
Individual debtors, sole-proprietors, small business owners, and
certain homeowners that owe debt relating to oil spill cleanup and removal
costs, property damage, and breach of contract, as well as other fees owed
to state agencies.
The temporary policy will also automatically suspend the accrual of
interest and collection of fees on all outstanding state medical and student
debt referred to the OAG for collection, so New Yorkers are not
penalized for taking advantage of this program.
New Yorkers with non-medical or non-student debt owed to the State of
New York and referred to the OAG, may also apply to temporarily halt the
collection of state debt. Individuals seeking to apply for this temporary
relief can fill out an application online or
visit the OAG’s coronavirus website to learn more
about the suspension of payments. If an individual is unable to fill out the
online form, they can also call the OAG hotline at 1-800-771-7755 to
Finally, the Governor confirmed 432 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 1,374 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 1,374 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:
We, the Leaders of the Group of Seven, acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy and a global health crisis, which also poses major risks for the world economy. We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts. While current challenges may require national emergency measures, we remain committed to the stability of the global economy. We express our conviction that current challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic need a strongly coordinated international approach, based on science and evidence, consistent with our democratic values, and utilizing the strengths of private enterprise.
We are committed to marshalling the full power of our governments to: Coordinate on necessary public health measures to protect people at risk from COVID-19; Restore confidence, growth, and protect jobs; Support global trade and investment; Encourage science, research, and technology cooperation. By acting together, we will work to resolve the health and economic risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and set the stage for a strong recovery of strong, sustainable economic growth and prosperity.
Accelerate Our Response to COVID-19
We will work hard to protect the health and safety of everyone in our countries. Stepping up the response to the outbreak remains our foremost priority. We will coordinate our efforts to delay the spread of the virus, including through appropriate border management measures.
We will enhance our efforts to strengthen health systems in our countries and globally. We fully support the World Health Organization in its global mandate to lead on disease outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences, leaving no geographical vacuum, and encourage all countries, international organizations, and the private sector to assist global efforts such as the Global Preparedness and Response Plan.
We stress the value of real-time information sharing to ensure access to the best and latest intelligence, improving prevention strategies and mitigation measures.
We will pool epidemiologic and other data to better understand and fight the virus.
We will increase coordinated research efforts, including through voluntary support for the global alliance Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation. We will support the launch of joint research projects funded by both public and private resources, and the sharing of facilities, towards rapid development, manufacture and distribution of treatments and a vaccine, adhering to the principles of efficacy, safety, and accessibility.
We will make efforts to increase the availability of medical equipment where it is most needed.
We will coordinate with online platforms to maximize public access to the latest correct and relevant official information, in recognition that millions of citizens receive information and news via social media.
To implement these objectives, and adapt measures if necessary, will require efforts across all parts of our governments, and we ask our health ministers to continue to coordinate on a weekly basis.
Forcefully Address the Economic Impact of the Outbreak
We resolve to coordinate measures and do whatever it takes, using all policy tools, to achieve strong growth in the G7 economies, and to safeguard against downside risks.
To this end, we are mobilizing the full range of instruments, including monetary and fiscal measures, as well as targeted actions, to support immediately and as much as necessary the workers, companies, and sectors most affected. This is particularly important for small and medium businesses and working families.
We also ask our central banks to continue to coordinate to provide the necessary monetary measures in order to support economic and financial stability, and to promote recovery and growth.
We ask our finance ministers to coordinate on a weekly basis on the implementation of those measures and to develop further timely and effective actions.
We reinforce the importance of coordination among international organizations even in the face of challenges to business continuity. We call on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group and other International Organizations to further support countries worldwide as part of a coordinated global response, focused on this specific challenge. We also ask our finance ministers to work closely with International Organizations to design and implement swiftly the international financial assistance that is appropriate to help countries, including emerging and developing economies, face the health and economic shock of COVID-19.
We will address disturbances to international supply chains and continue our work to facilitate international trade.
Restore and Expand Growth
We will continue to work together with resolve to implement these measures to respond to this global emergency. In facing the economic challenge, we are determined not only to restore the level of growth anticipated before the COVID-19 pandemic but also to build the foundation for stronger future growth. We will continue to coordinate through the G7 Presidency including at the G7 Leaders’ Summit and call upon the G20 to support and amplify these efforts.
Amid a lack of federal
direction and nationwide standards, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New
Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced
a regional approach to combating the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout
the tri-state area, in announcing closures of restaurants, bars,
gyms, movie theaters and gatherings over 50 people, as well as public schools.
But the governors all
called upon the federal government – the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA – to assist
with building emergency hospitals and providing medical equipment and
protective gear for health workers.
In what may be the first
regional coalition in the country to slow the spread of the infection, these
uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational
gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated
guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday
recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events
consisting of 50 people or more.
The three governors also
announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move
to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be
provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect
at 8 PM tonight.
Finally, the three
governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos,
effective at 8 PM tonight.
This uniform approach to
social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or
“Our primary goal
right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new
infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social
distancing is the best way to do that,” New York Governor Cuomo said. “This
is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with
our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our
people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state
travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to
implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on
New Jersey Governor Murphy said, “With all we are seeing in our state – and across our
nation and around the world – the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct,
actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I’ve said many times
over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this
as one New Jersey family. But if we’re all in this together, we must work with
our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn’t just
up to some of us, it’s up to all of us.”
Connecticut Governor Lamont said, “The only way to effectively fight the spread of
COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a
patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that
because of this collaboration, we will save lives.”
But the governors called upon the federal government
to quickly assist to address what is anticipated as a critical shortage of
hospital capacity, medical equipment and protective gear for health workers.
“The best way
to [add hospital capacity] is the Army Corp of Engineers – they build airports,
bridges,” said Governor Cuomo. “They have the personnel, equipment and do it
well. They have the medical equipment and experience setting up hospitals. The
state doesn’t have existing workforce. We could contract out –and expedite
contracting, which is very expensive – but we still don’t have the medical
equipment. It is very, very hard for a state to get this equipment. Everybody
wants ventilators, oxygen tanks. The federal government has a stockpile of
emergency medical equipment. [But], if the federal government doesn’t step up
and doesn’t step up quickly, states will be forced to do what they can on own,
and New York will do exactly that” – use its own construction authority and
Dormitory Authority to build.
New Jersey Governor Murphy said that to expand his
state’s hospital capacity, “we are looking at host of contingency plans in
similar light. We have had constructive conversations with FEMA, but more about
testing. We will take all the help we can get. Our big needs from the federal
government alongside testing is personal protective equipment. In long term, we
will need help with economic recovery – states can’t do that on own. But our
immediate need on personal protective equipment.
hospital beds and within a couple of weeks,” Connecticut Governor Lamont said. “We
are woefully short, especially if a surge comes, even if we flatten the curve
in the most optimistic way, we are badly outgunned. We saw what happened in
China, where built new hospitals, added capacity in short order.”
The governors said they were not going to shut down
public transportation, but to “right size the equipment to ridership,” Governor
Murphy said. “There are huge focuses on hygiene, cleanliness, making sure all
the equipment is as clean and germ free as possible.”
Meanwhile, the governors are looking to increase
telecommunications capacity, to enable people to telecommute, to maintain
education online and medical assistance, as well as stay in touch with family.
“We’re working with telecom service providers ,upping
capacity, taking away caps, to learn at home, telehealth at home, so people get
out of cars and stay closer at home,” Said Governor Lamont. “Ridership on rail
is way down.”
“New York also,” Cuomo added. “We want people to stay home, so we need capacity for
The three states, acting in concert, are shutting
down bars and restaurants except for take out and delivery. The exceptions will
be supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and other essential retailers.
New Jersey is strongly discouraging nonessential
travel between 8 pm & 5 am on any given day beginning tonight.
Other states may join New York, New Jersey and
Connecticut in a wider regional coalition for coordinated action – including Pennsylvania,
Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Asked about the downsides to closing public schools –
including loss of food service for needy children, and child care for workers, Cuomo
said, “We will do it in a way that accentuates the upside and negates the
downside. The downside is people lose childcare, first responders may not be
able to go to work, especially healthcare workers if there isn’t child care, so
the crash will be on the healthcare system. So we said that schools can close
but must provide child care for essential workers, first responders, healthcare
workers. Schools close but we will not stop the food for breakfast, lunch,
dinner. Educational opportunities lost but we are planning to continue to teach
through telecommuting or summer school if this has abated to that point by
“There are few easy calls on this one,” Governor
Murphy said. “There is enormous pressure on the economy, small businesses going
forward. In schools, the three issues referenced- food security (we have a couple
of hundred thousand kids who depend on schools for a hot meal), child care,
remote learning (250,000 New Jersey kids
don’t have access to device). So we are preprinting monthly syllibi. None of these
decisions are easy, without offsets. But we believe strongly this is right path
As for tribal casinos in New York and Connecticut, which
as sovereign nations, the states cannot order to close but Governor Cuomo said “This
is a ‘do the right thing’ situation.”
Earlier, Governor Cuomo had issued a ruling to close
New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk, and instructed New York City to
develop a plan within 24 hours to ensure children who rely on school breakfast
and lunch programs will continue to receive that support, and parents –
especially critical healthcare workers and first responders – will be provided
access to child care as needed.
“Our goal is to
slow the spread of the virus to a rate that the healthcare system can manage,
and one of the ways to do that is to reduce density,” Governor Cuomo said.”Closing
the schools is a good idea but you have to anticipate and correct any
unintended consequences – we have to ensure children who rely on free school
meals continue to get them and that there’s adequate child care, especially for
healthcare workers and first responders who are parents of young children. We
will close these schools but it needs to be done with these contingencies in
mind so that children are not harmed and our hospitals aren’t understaffed –
otherwise we cut off our nose to spite our face.”
The Governor also called
on 1199 SEIU President George Gresham, New York State Nurses
Association President Judy Sheridan Gonzalez, Greater New York Hospitals
Association President Ken Raske and United Federation of Teachers
President Mike Mulgrew to work together to ensure children who rely
on school breakfast and lunch programs will continue to receive that support,
and parents will be provided access to child care as needed, including
temporary daycare centers. These centers would prioritize care for children of
healthcare workers and first responders to ensure these school closures do not
strain the hospital and emergency response systems.
Earlier today, the Governor tasked SUNY Empire State
College President Jim Malatras with working with counties to develop
contingency plans in preparation for school closings, including how to provide
meals to food insecure children and ensuring families have adequate access to
County executives from
Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau joined a conference call with Governor Cuomo to
discuss the school closures.:
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Our county has been coordinating
with the State to ensure an effective means of slowing the spread of the
COVID-19 virus. Cancelling group events and meetings, limiting access for
non-essential social contacts and anticipating additional testing and
healthcare needs are all part of our response in concert with the Governor and
his administration. Closing schools – with adequate childcare and nutrition
provisions – is the next step we will undertake this week. We deeply appreciate
the leadership shown by Governor Cuomo.”
“Over the last
several days we have worked with our state and local partners on the potential
closure of schools as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to
increase around the state,” Suffolk
County Executive Steve Bellone said. “As part of our larger
social distancing efforts, we came to the conclusion that closing schools is
the right thing to do at this time. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo
for his leadership as we deal with this crisis as well as our school districts
for their partnership and swift action to protect Suffolk families.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, “I thank Governor Cuomo for fully
supporting our decision to close all public and private schools and for his
unwavering commitment to ensure every child in Nassau County is fully taken
care of while this crisis continues to unfold. We all agree that nothing is
more important than the safety and well-being of our children.”
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Sen. Bernie Sanders gave remarks regarding the lessons we can learn from the growing coronavirus outbreak.This is a rushed transcript provided by the Sanders campaign:
Good afternoon everyone, thank you for being here. In the midst of a major healthcare and economic crisis currently facing our country, I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about the lessons we can learn long-term about what we are experiencing today.
As I discussed yesterday, our country is facing, as everybody knows, a medical and economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen for generations. And we must prepare for this response in an unprecedented way, making certain that our government responds effectively, and protects the interests of all our people regardless of their income, or where they live. In other words, this is not just about giving tax breaks to large corporations, but about remembering the people today who don’t have much money, who are nervous about their economic futures and healthcare prospects.
to say we must massively increase the availability of test kits for the coronavirus and the speed at which the tests are
processed. We need to anticipate significant increases in hospital admissions, which means that we will need more
ICU units and ventilators, we will need more
doctors, nurses, and medical personnel of all kinds – and we must make sure
that these frontline personnel are well
protected from the diseases they are treating. I have talked to nurses
recently who worry very much about whether they are getting the kind of
knowledge and equipment they need so that they do not get sick.
We need to significantly improve
our communications and collaboration with other countries to ensure that we
are learning everything that we can about the successes and failures of other
countries as they deal with this crisis. And furthermore, we must be honest with the American people and
communicate as effectively and directly as we can with all of the scientific
information that we can provide.
Further, and most importantly, our
response to this entire crisis must be guided by the decisions of doctors,
scientists, and researchers, not politicians.
But as we struggle with this crisis, it is also important that we learn
the lessons of how we got to where we are today, and what we must do in the
future so that we are better prepared for similar crises that may come.
Poll after poll already shows us that the American people understand
that we must do what every other major country on earth does, and that is to guarantee healthcare to all of our people
as a human right, not a privilege. As we begin to see the failures and
vulnerabilities of the current healthcare system, my guess is that those
numbers and the demand for universal healthcare will only go up.
The American people are asking: how is it possible that we spend twice as much per capita as
the people of Canada and other major countries, while 87 million of us are uninsured or underinsured.
And obviously, in this crisis, and unbelievably, it means that people
who are sick today, people who woke up this morning with symptoms of the
coronavirus, are saying, “you know I feel sick but I cannot afford to go to a doctor.” And when somebody is
not treated for the virus – somebody who is unable to afford to go to that
doctor – that means that that infection can spread to many others, putting us
So it’s not just
a question that in normal times – tragically, unbelievably – that we lose 30,000 people a year because they
don’t get to doctor on time, but now the lack of healthcare threatens other
people as well.
How could it be, that when we spend so much more than what other countries are spending, we have millions of people who may be dealing with the virus but they cannot go to the doctor because they can’t afford it? That is a question that must resonate in every American’s mind.
If this isn’t a red flag for the current
dysfunctional and wasteful healthcare system, frankly I don’t know what is.
For the benefit of all of us, we must make sure that every person in
this country who needs to seek medical treatment can go to a doctor free of
charge regardless of their income. That is obviously what we must do now in the
middle of a crisis, but it is what we must do as a nation in the near future.
Here are just a few instances about how absurd and dysfunctional our
current healthcare system is.
It has been estimated that a full battery of tests for the coronavirus costs over $1,300. First of all,
take a look at that – $1,300 to get the test people need to have to know if
they have the virus or not.
In America today, 40% of our
people don’t have $400 in the bank to pay for an emergency expense. We
have half of our people living paycheck to paycheck.
If their car breaks down they can’t afford to get it fixed, and if
somebody tells them it costs $1,300 for the test to determine whether you have
the coronavirus if they’re sick, what are they supposed to do? What happens to
How can someone without insurance afford to pay $1,331 to get tested when they don’t even have $400 in the bank? What are they supposed to do? What happens to them? Do they go to a payday lender where the average interest rate is over 390%? Do they borrow money from their family? Or do they go without the test? Which every doctor in the world will tell them is a test they should have.
And while the Trump administration says it may cover co-pays to cover
the cost of testing for those who have insurance, they will not cover the cost of treatment – which could cost tens of
thousands of dollars.
How cruel is that? How absurd is that? To say to people, “we’re sorry
you have coronavirus, we covered the cost of the test, but now you’re on your
own and it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to get treated.” That
is totally absurd.
Clearly what we need to do is to make sure that if someone has the
coronavirus that person gets the treatment that they need.
words, our current system leaves people uninsured, but even if you have
insurance you may not even have the ability to travel to a doctor near you.
Because now we’re talking about a system in which many rural hospitals have closed down and
they cannot find a doctor in their communities.
The reality today, and this is an issue we must to deal with, is that we don’t have enough doctors, we don’t have
enough hospitals, and we don’t have enough clinics in rural communities and
Further, we are in a situation when we desperately need affordable prescription drugs, yet we have a
pharmaceutical industry that continues to make billions in profits by charging
outrageous prices for prescription drugs, sometimes 10x more in this country than in other countries.
In my view,
the most cost effective way to reform our dysfunctional and cruel system is to
move to a Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare system.
And I think in the midst of this crisis, more and more Americans
understand the truth of that.
It is nearly impossible to
believe that anyone can still think it’s acceptable to continue with a
healthcare system that leaves tens of millions of people uninsured. The cruelty
and absurdity of that view is more obvious in the midst of this crisis than it
has ever been.
And let’s be clear. Lack of
healthcare and affordable medicine does not only threaten the healthcare and
well-being of the uninsured. It threatens everyone who comes in contact with
In fact, what this crisis is beginning to teach us is that we are only as safe as the least insured
person in America.
Further, we are the only major
country on earth that does not mandate paid family and medical leave. And
we’re seeing how that crisis is impacting where we are today.
As we speak, there are millions of workers — right now — who are
being told to go to work, yet they may be ill and should be staying home.
But these very same families
will face financial ruin if they don’t go to work. These are workers in the
restaurant industry, transportation industry, tourism, retail — in other words
the people who interact with the public every single day.
Right now, at a time when half of our people live paycheck to paycheck,
and at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we must directly address the economic desperation facing a
huge number of Americans.
So we must finally pass a paid
family leave program in the United States to keep this virus from spreading
and to keep Americans healthy.
We must do it right now.
People should not be going to work when they are sick, it is unfair to
them, it is unfair to the people they are in contact with. And yet, that
reality exists, because we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee
paid family leave and sick time.
Finally, from a national
security perspective, it is
incomprehensible that we are dependent on China and other countries for masks,
for prescription drugs, for rubber gloves, and for key parts needed to make
advanced medical equipment like ventilators.
As a result of
globalization and our disastrous trade policies, we have been outsourcing
millions of jobs and factories overseas that have gutted our economy. Now we
are seeing another tragic and devastating result of those policies, as we find
ourselves dependent on other countries to provide the most essential things we
need to combat a pandemic and protect the lives of the people in our country.
Now trade is
a good thing, but it has to be based on common sense principles. It has to
be based on protecting American workers
and protecting our national security, making sure we are producing what we need
in this country in the event of a national crisis.
Now is the time to begin
bringing back production and manufacturing to the United States and enact fair
trade policies so that we are never in this position again.
Now here is the bottom line. As we are dealing with this crisis, we
need to listen to the scientists, to the
researchers, and to the medical professionals, not politicians.
We need to move quickly to prepare for the exponential increase of
cases we will be seeing here in our country.
But as we do that, we must begin thinking about how, as a society, we
can create a healthcare and economic system that is humane, that is compassionate,
and that works for all people, not just the wealthiest.
Now that is an issue that people have had to think about for a long
time, but I think in this moment of
crisis more and more people understand that we need fundamental changes to our
economy, and we need fundamental changes to our healthcare system.
This is the speech on protecting against the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic that Americans should have heard from the Oval Office:
Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden on Combating Coronavirus (COVID-19)
My fellow Americans:
Today, across the nation, many of us are feeling anxious about the rapid spread of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus, and the threat it poses to our health, our loved ones, and our livelihoods.
I know people are worried, and my thoughts are with all those who are directly fighting this virus — those infected, families that have suffered a loss, our first responders and health care providers who are putting themselves on the line for others. And I’d like to thank those who are already making sacrifices to protect us— whether that’s self-quarantining or cancelling events or closing campuses. Because whether or not you are infected, or know someone who is infected, or have been in contact with an infected person — this will require a national response. Not just from our elected leaders or our public health officials — from all of us.
We all must follow the guidance of health officials and take appropriate precautions — to protect ourselves, and critically, to protect others, especially those who are most at-risk from this disease.
It will mean making some radical changes to our personal behaviors: more frequent and more through handwashing and staying home from work if you are ill, but also altering some deeply-ingrained habits, like handshakes and hugs, and avoiding large public gatherings.
That is why earlier this week, on the recommendation of officials, my campaign cancelled the election night rally we had planned to hold in Cleveland, Ohio. We will also be re-imagining the format for the large-crowd events we had planned in Chicago and Miami in the coming days. And we will continue to assess and adjust how we conduct our campaign as we move forward, and find new ways to share our message with the public, while putting the health and safety of the American people first.
Yesterday, we announced a Public Health Advisory Committee of experts who will counsel our campaign and help guide our decisions on steps to minimize the risk. We will be led by the science.
The World Health Organization has now officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Downplaying it, being overly dismissive, or spreading misinformation will only hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease. But neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a “foreign virus” does not displace accountability for the mismanagement that we have seen from the Trump Administration.
Let me be crystal clear: the coronavirus does not have a political affiliation. It will infect Republicans and Democrats alike. It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code. It will touch people in positions of power and the most vulnerable in our society.
A wall will not stop it. Banning all travel from Europe, or any other part of the world, may slow it — but as we have seen — it will not stop it. And travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics — rather than risk — will be counterproductive. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet. And we need a plan about how we are going to aggressively manage it here at home.
The American people have the capacity to meet this moment. We will face this with the same spirit that has guided us through previous crises. We will come together as a nation. We will look out for one another and do our part as citizens. We have to harness the ingenuity of our scientists and the resourcefulness of our people. And we have to lead the world to drive a coordinated global strategy, not shut ourselves off from it.
Protecting the health and safety of the American people is the most important job of any president — and unfortunately, this virus has laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current Administration. Public fears are being compounded by a pervasive lack of trust in this president, fueled by his adversarial relationship with the truth.
Our government’s ability to respond effectively has been undermined by the hollowing-out of our agencies and the disparagement of science. And our ability to drive a global response is dramatically undercut by the damage Trump has done to our credibility and our relationships around the world.
We have to get to work immediately to dig ourselves out of this hole. That is why, today, I am releasing a plan to combat and overcome the coronavirus. The full details are on JoeBiden.com laying out the immediate steps we must take to deliver: A decisive public health response to curb the spread of this disease and provide treatment to those in need; and a decisive economic response that delivers real relief to American workers, families, and small businesses — and protects the economy as a whole.
I offer it as a roadmap, not for what I will do as president 10 months from now, but for the leadership I believe is required right now, in this moment. President Trump is welcome to adopt it today.
The core principle is simple: public health professionals must be the ones making our public health decisions and communicating with the American people. It would be a step toward reclaiming public trust and confidence in the United States government and toward stopping the fear and chaos that can overtake communities faster than this pandemic. And it’s critical to mounting an effective national response that will save lives, protect our front-line health workers, and slow the spread of this virus.
First, anyone who needs to be tested based on medical guidelines, should be tested—at no charge. The Administration’s failure on testing is colossal. It is a failure of planning, leadership, and execution. The White House should measure and report each day how many tests were ordered, how many tests have been completed, and how many have tested positive. By next week, the number of tests should be in the millions, not the thousands. We should make sure every person in a nursing home, a senior center, or a vulnerable population has easy access to a test.
We should establish hundreds of mobile testing sites — at least 10 per state — and drive-thru testing centers to speed testing and protect health care workers.
The CDC, private labs, universities, and manufacturers should be working in lock-step to get this done, and get it done right. No effort should be spared. No excuses should be made. Tests should be available to all who need them and the government should stop at nothing to make that happen.
We must know the true extent of this outbreak so we can map it, trace it, and contain it. Nor should we hide the true number of infections in hopes of protecting political interests or the stock market. The markets will respond to strong, steady, capable leadershipthat addresses the root of the problem, not efforts to cover it up.
Second, we need to surge our capability to both prevent and treat the coronavirus, and prepare our hospitals to deal with an influx of those needing care. This means not just getting out the testing kits and processing them quickly, but making sure communities have the hospital beds, the staff, the medical supplies, and the personal protective equipment necessary to treat patients.
The president should order FEMA to prepare the capacity with local authorities to establish temporary hospitals with hundreds of beds on short notice. The Department of Defense should prepare for the potential deployment of its resources to provide medical facility capacity and logistical support. A week from now, a month from now, we could need an instant, 500-bed hospital to isolate and treat patients in any city in the country. We can do that — but we aren’t ready yet, and the clock is ticking.
As we take these steps, state, federal, and local authorities need to ensure that there is accurate, up-to-date information easily available to every American so everyone can make an informed decision about when to get tested, when to self-quarantine, and when to seek medical treatment. And the federal government should provide states and municipalities with clear guidance about when to trigger more aggressive mitigation policies, such as closing schools.
Third, we need to accelerate the development of treatments and a vaccine. Science takes time. It will still be many months before we have a vaccine that can be proven safe for public use and produced in sufficient quantity to make a difference. Therapeutics can and should come sooner. That will save lives. We passed the Cures Act in 2016 to accelerate work at the National Institutes of Health, but now it must have every available resource to speed the process along.
We must fast-track clinical trials within the NIH, while closely coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration on trial approvals, so that the science is not hindered by the bureaucracy. And, when we do have a vaccine ready to go, it should also be made widely available, free of charge.
We should also immediately restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense –with a full-time, dedicated coordinator to oversee the response.
Our Administration created that office to better respond to future global health threats after the Ebola crisis in 2014.
It was designed for exactly this scenario.
President Trump eliminated the office two years ago.
Here’s the bottom line: we have to do what is necessary to beat this challenge sooner rather than later.
I assure you, if we wait for it to worsen then scramble to catch up, the human and economic toll will be far greater and last far longer.
Congress gave the Administration $8 billion last week to fight the virus. We need to know exactly where that money is going, how quickly it is going out the door, and how it is being spent.
This brings me to the second half of this challenge — the economic dislocation the coronavirus will cause in our country.
We must do whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes, to deliver relief for our families and ensure the stability of our economy.
Taking immediate, bold measures to help Americans who are hurting economically right now.
It means we will need bigger and broader measures to shore up economic demand, protect jobs, keep credit flowing to our job creators, and make sure we have the economic fire power we need to weather this storm and get our people and this economy back to full strength as soon as possible.
This crisis will hit everyone, but it will hit folks who live paycheck-to-paycheck the hardest, including working people and seniors.
Another tax cut to Google or Goldman or millionaires won’t get the job done.
Indiscriminate corporate tax subsidies won’t effectively target those who really need help.
We need to place our focus on those who will struggle just to get by.
People are already losing jobs — we need to replace their wages.
That includes workers in the gig economy who lack unemployment insurance.
Parents who are already struggling with childcare costs — we need to give them relief.
Children who rely on school lunches will need food.
And schools will need help ensuring children who do not have easy access to computers can still learn if their schools close.
People who have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage because they’ve been laid off or had their hours cut back — we need to help them stay in their homes.
Small businesses that will be devastated as customers stay home and events are canceled — we need to make sure they have access to interest-free loans.
It is a national disgrace that millions of our fellow citizens do not have a single day of paid sick leave.
We need — both — a permanent plan for paid sick leave and an emergency plan for everyone who needs it due to the outbreak.
Beyond these national measures, my plan also calls for the creation of a State and Local Emergency Fund to make sure governors, mayors, and local leaders who are battling coronavirus on the ground have the resources necessary to meet this crisis head on.
These funds could be used at the discretion of local leaders for whatever they most need: expanding critical health infrastructure, hiring additional health care and emergency service personnel, or cushioning the wider economic blow this virus will cause our communities.
We need smart, bold, and compassionate leadership that will help contain the crisis, reduce hardship to our people, and help our economy rebound.
But let me be clear: this is just a start.
We must prepare now to take further decisive action, including direct relief, that will be large in scale and focused on the broader health and stability of our economy.
But we can only protect the health of our economy, if we do everything in our power to protect the health of our people.
The last point I want to make today is this — we will never fully solve this problem if we are unwilling to look beyond our own borders and engage fully with the world.
A disease that starts any place on the planet can be on a plane to any city on earth a few hours later.
So we have to confront coronavirus everywhere.
We should be leading a coordinated, global response, just as we did for Ebola, that draws on the incredible capability of the U.S. Agency for International Development and our State Department to assist vulnerable nations in detecting and treating coronavirus wherever it is spreading.
We should be investing in rebuilding and strengthening the Global Health Security Agenda, which we launched during our Administration, specifically to mobilize the world against the threat of new infectious diseases.
It can be hard to see the concrete value of this work when everything seems well with the world.
But by cutting our investments in global health, this Administration has left us woefully ill-prepared for the exact crisis we now face.
No President can promise to prevent future outbreaks.
But I can promise you that when I’m president, we will prepare better, respond better, and recover better.
We will lead with science.
We will listen to experts and heed their advice.
We will rebuild American leadership and rally the world to meet global threats.
And I will always, always tell you the truth.
That is the responsibility of a president.
That is what is owed to the American people.
Now, and in the difficult days that still lie ahead, I know that this country will summon our spirit of empathy, decency, and unity.
Because, in times of crisis, Americans stand as one.