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Coronavirus In The U.S.; New York Confirms First Coronavirus Death; White House Holds Briefing On Coronavirus Response; Trump: I Took Coronavirus Test. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired March 14, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Just moments from now, the White House Coronavirus Task Force is set to update us on the administration's response to the growing pandemic. And while we're waiting for that, we have learned that everyone in the room, the entire press corps, have their temperature taken ahead of the briefing.
There are now as well more than 2,300 confirmed cases of this virus in the U.S. This morning, New York City reporting its first death and Florida reporting another person also died there, which raises the number of deaths nationwide to 51. CNN's Kristen Holmes is live at the White House. So did you get your temperature taken?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, that's right. Erica, someone came by, a press aide, as well as someone from the White House physician's office and took our temperatures. And actually, just moments ago, someone was denied entrance here to come into this briefing, because their temperature was too high. We are told that it was a 99.9 temperature and they were not allowed to come into this briefing.
Now, the White House says that this is done out of an abundance of caution. They do not want anyone to have a temperature interact with the Vice President and President. But it also comes at a time where the White House continues to tell us that President Trump himself has not been tested.
So even though all of us who are around the President are getting tested, getting our temperature taken, President himself apparently still has not. Something we will be asking about in this briefing, trying to figure out some of the answers to all of this.
And it's coming at a time when first of all three people who are at Mar-a-Lago, the same weekend as President Trump, have tested positive for coronavirus. Now, we only know that two of them came into contact with the President in some capacity, one of them we are unsure of.
But at another time, when we're hearing from White House doctors - a previous administration's doctors who are familiar with the White House strategy with their plan, who say that they disagree with the assessment that the White House doctor today made that President Trump shouldn't get tested. I want to put up a statement. This is a memo that was sent out by the White House doctor last night on why President Trump didn't need to get tested. It says, "These interactions would be categorized as low risk for transmission per CDC guidelines and as such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time. Additionally, given the President himself remains without symptoms, testing for COVID - COVID- 19 is not currently indicated."
So they're saying no. Now we're hearing from doctors who have knowledge, who have worked with the White House in the past, who are saying this is a bad assessment. They believe President Trump should be tested.
And, clearly, now the White House is taking some sort of precautions. After we saw yesterday, President Trump shaking hands with every member of that team out there on national television, after all of his public health officials have advised social distancing, which includes not shaking hands. So, again, something else we're going to be asking questions about, hoping to get some answers.
And Erica, I do want to point one other thing out here. There's a big question about that website - that Google website. We are told now that Google is not developing a nationwide website to help with this test searching. That there is something smaller. That it was in the works with a subset company that was owned by Google's parent company.
After we heard President Trump thanking Google, also saying that 1,700 Google engineers were working on it. So that's another big question here. Just want to flag all the things that we're looking at, all the things that we want to get answers from this task force on any minute when they come out.
HILL: Those inconsistencies that we are hoping that task force can clear up. I just want a couple other things I just want to check with you on Kristen. I should point out, Senator Rick Scott, who of course, self-quarantined, after coming into contact with a member of the Brazilian delegation who had tested positive. He told me this morning, he thinks the president should get tested, and agreed that he shouldn't be shaking hands.
I'm curious if the press corps temperature is being taken, did those folks from the White House physician's office, did they mention if everybody else in the White House is also having their temperature taken on a daily basis? And I apologize for putting you on the spot?
HOLMES: No, no, it's fine. I mean, look, this just happened 30 minutes ago. All we know so far is that they're taking the temperature of anyone coming into contact with the President in close proximity. We would assume that that means White House staff as well. But we reached out on that, we're waiting to hear back what exactly this entails.
This is very different than what we have seen in the last several weeks as we've watched President Trump, again, shaking hands, getting close. I was with him when he was in Tennessee visiting the victims of that disaster. He was with groups of people this close taking photos with them. So there was clearly no restriction there. Obviously, no one walking around there taking people's temperature. And that was, of course, after we had started to see this outbreak here in the U.S. It'll be interesting to see who around President Trump is being tested. Right now waiting on that answer for you, Erica.
HILL: All right. We know you we know you will not stop until you get it. So I appreciate it. Kristen Holmes, good to see you. Thank you.
I want to turn now to CNN Shimon Prokupecz who is in New Rochelle, just north of New York City. This community, of course, at the epicenter of New York's largest outbreak - the country's largest cluster. So Shimon, what more is happening on the ground there this morning.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It's been actually a pretty busy morning here this morning, Erica. We've seen cars come through, they say stopped. There's a checkpoint there. You can see a car behind me. There are officers gathered. They tell them to stop. They ask them if they're here for testing. They tell them roll your window down a little bit. They ask them if they have ID. And then they tell them to proceed.
There's another area just over the bridge there to proceed where there's an additional checkpoint, and that is where the testing text takes place. It's been a relatively busy morning here. Dozens of cars have been driving up. It's been controlled.
You know, most people here who are showing up have appointments. You have to call ahead of time. You can't just show up and get tested. Now, this comes as the governor this morning announcing the first fatality in New York State connected to coronavirus.
It was an 82-year-old woman, sadly, who died. She had a preexisting condition, he said, emphysema. And so as a result with a preexisting condition and then the coronavirus, that ultimately killed her and she died. New York City Hospital.
The Governor explaining more this morning on our air as he talked to you about exactly what's been going on in New York and here's what he said Erica.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You're going to see people who are ill, older people who have underlying respiratory illnesses who get the coronavirus. They will be in a grave situation and we will see this over and over and over again.
But by the way, an 82-year-old person who has emphysema was hospitalized for emphysema. If they get the normal flu, they're in a grave situation, right? So yes, we have a death from coronavirus. We have many deaths of people who were senior citizens with an illness who had the normal flu. So, again, the context here is everything. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PROKUPECZ: And that is the thing, Erica, that state and city and, obviously doctors are stressed. And that if you have underlying conditions that if you have other health issues, you are most susceptible to this and perhaps even dying.
The Governor also said that they hope that they can get a second site up. Another drive through testing site. That one would be in Long Island, another area where they're seeing a spike a number of people with symptoms, so they want to get that system up and running.
But relatively here, you know, it's been controlled. People have been showing up, they've been driving up. And you officers here, wearing masks, have been working with the people who've been driving up directing them. And so we should expect to see several more cars.
This could go till about 7:00 o'clock tonight. The testing site here could see up to about 200 people. So we expect more. Yesterday, the Governor said they had about 150 vehicles. In some case, some of these vehicles are showing up with more than one person. I saw one car where there were three people inside, some of them wearing masks. So the tests here continuing, underway and we should see a lot more here this morning and later into this afternoon, Erica.
HILL: Well good to know that they're continuing. And the Governor, I know, mentioning earlier today to saying that now that the state can really - has been allowed to take some of this testing into its own hands, they can get the results a little bit faster, which of course, will be key for those folks there on the ground.
And as you said, Shimon, everything's sort of proceeding well and easily. So that's good news, too, as we look at this. And just to reiterate, one of the reasons they want these drive up sites is to keep people out of the emergency rooms, correct.
PROKUPECZ: Right, that's exactly the point. They actually do not want people who are exhibiting symptoms showing up at doctors' offices, at emergency rooms, because they can spread the infection. So this is why they're trying to do sites like this.
It's really surreal when you think about it, that something like this - that we would have something like this. But it is the only thing right now, I think, that is available to people and it is something think that the Governor and city, state officials, they want this. This is the type of testing sites that they want. They think it is most safe. They think it is most convenient.
And even for the officers here, there are officers behind here, they - when the cars approach, they're not going up to the vehicles. They go - they use their loudspeakers, through their PA systems on their cars. They're telling them to stop. They're telling them roll down your window a little bit. They want to make sure that they have an appointment. They want them - and they want to be safe. That's the whole point of this.
PROKUPECZ: You know, we want people tested, but they also want people doing it in a safe way.
HILL: Right. And that certainly minimizes the interaction with both of those police officers there at the checkpoints, but with also the medical professionals during the testing as well. Shimon, appreciate it, as always, good to see you.
Also with us right now, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who is a Democratic Representative from Illinois. Congressman, good to have you with us this morning. Bit of a late night, I know. So first, let's get your reaction to this bill that passed the House. There was a lot in it.
One thing that I am curious about, and full disclosure, it's because a friend texted me his concerns about people who are part of the gig economy. People who are more hourly workers and may not have a regular rate of pay, which is referenced in this bill. Are their provisions for those folks?
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): So, there are various provisions in this bill that apply to workers. I'll just cover four. One is free coronavirus testing; two, paid sick leave. And there, with regard to paid sick leave, for any employers less than 50 employees, they get reimbursed by the federal government.
For any employers greater than 50, then they would be mandated to pay it about two-thirds of the salary. The third is food relief for all people who are indigent and, especially folks who are going to be at home, quarantined, unemployed, they're going to need help. And then, finally, additional unemployment insurance for the states.
With regard to gig workers. I think that they will be able to take advantage of these provisions. Certainly, you know, the free coronavirus testing applies to everybody, regardless of who your employer is. And then with regard to other provisions, I'm hopeful they'll be able to take advantage of them as well.
HILL: Yes, it is that loss of income, I think, that they are they're most concerned about. So hopefully they will. We just learned from our folks there in the White House press briefing room, and we're, of course waiting from this update from the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, that as members of the press were coming in this morning, all of their temperatures were taken.
They were told it was out of an abundance of caution. One person was turned away who had a temperature of 99.9. Great to see this happening, right, that there's some concern about anybody who could be coming into close proximity of the President or the vice president. Were you aware that something like this was going to be implemented?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: You know, I'm a little concerned about the situation. Just, overall, you know, we're just not testing enough people for coronavirus. I'm glad to see that they're taking temperatures with regards to people entering the press briefing room. But there's a much bigger problem right now, which is that we are way behind other countries in terms of testing the number of people in our country for coronavirus to stop the spread.
Just as an example in Korea, for every million residents, they've already tested 4,000. Here we've tested 15 for every million residents. So we're far behind. And the fact that the administration, even yesterday at the press conference, the President refused to tell reporters by what date Americans can expect to get the testing they want, they deserve, is telling because they don't want to be held accountable for their promises and claims, and that's very dangerous.
A similar thing happened in my hearing when I questioned CDC Director Redfield, by what date? Are we going to be able to test 15,000 people per day? He wouldn't tell us
HILL: That it's a question many people do want answered. We have been told, Vice President Pence earlier this week said there will be 4 million kits by the end of the week. And then the President yesterday saying there would be 5 million by the end of the month. So, yes, we are sort of with you in that confusion there.
I'm curious, though, do you have a sense, especially based on your role on oversight. Do you have a sense that the government though, is starting to get a better handle on it? Maybe behind the scenes?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think so. I think so. I think that they are trying to get a better handle on it. The fact that the CDC is no longer in charge of making sure that testing happens. That apparently they've now put the Assistant Secretary of HHS Mr. Giroir, in charge of it, is a hopeful sign.
But the fact that they refused over and over and over again to tell us a timeline or goals, means that either they don't know how to calculate those goals or the timeline, or they know but they don't want to, or they have and they don't want to share the information. So they don't want to be held accountable.
Any of those outcomes is dangerous for the American people, because we need to get those tests right now. We are getting inundated with calls from people who are basically saying, how do I get this test? I went to my doctor, I requested the test. The doctor then called and they couldn't get the test. And this is even for people who are in some - in many cases, symptomatic or they are - they haven't been ruled out as not having coronavirus.
HILL: Do you think the President should be tested? He intimated yesterday that he was now open to the idea. Then we heard from the White House that they didn't think he needed to have that test done. But you think even just for the American people, there would be an advantage to the President having Test taken.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that's the responsible thing to do. I'm a little concerned about why he doesn't want to take that test. Is it because of that statement that you pointed out his physicians issued? Which is that he is at very low risk of contracting coronavirus, or is it that they don't want to know the answer? They don't want to know if he is positive. Of course, that's dangerous in and of itself, not only to him, but to everyone around him.
And I think that he should take the test, and I think we should know what the test results are. It turns out three people now from that dinner that you talked about, contracted coronavirus. And so it makes all the sense in the world for him to take that test.
You know, several members of Congress - several colleagues of mine have self-quarantine just because they came into contact with somebody who had coronavirus. Well, it turns out three people at this dinner that he attended had coronavirus. So in some senses, he did come in contact with them. And I think he should take the test.
HILL: Well, we have and - you know, some of your Republican colleagues, I should point out, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, also Senator Rick Scott, who told me an interview early today, both urging that the President should be tested.
I want to talk to you about kids at this point in school, because I know, there are - the last estimate that I saw was at least 21 million kids will be out of school for at least some period of time. In some states, that could be as long as six weeks, other schools it maybe a couple of days.
I know that you know that there are concerns there. How are those being addressed not just in terms of food insecurity, but also in terms of safety for some of these kids, and distance learning, which of course, only works if everybody has access to, to a network and to the technology itself?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Sure. So in Illinois, the Governor, just a couple days ago, ordered the closure of all schools. I think he's one of a handful Governors have done that. And the reason why he did that, and the reason why the other Governors did that is because there's a very high risk of community transmission from children who carry coronavirus even if they're not symptomatic. They don't know how to practice social distancing, the way that adults do.
So then it presents another set of challenges, which I think you're alluding to, which is if they're sent home, who's going to care for them? I think that the legislation that we passed last night is going to help a lot with regard to that issue, because quite frankly, now, we are offering paid family and medical leave as well as paid sick leave.
And so those parents who have to be at home with their children, who have now been sent home because of school closures can get paid at least two-thirds of their current salary, which is very important, so that someone is at home to take care of them and there's security there.
But you do raise some good question. But I think that the legislation last night really addresses that and makes it more possible for districts to kind of pause some of their activities and have an extended school holiday. Of course, as for those parents who have to now be at home with their children all day, those - that's another set of challenges altogether.
HILL: I was I was talking to a fellow working mom this morning who said to me, there's a reason that teachers go through a lot of schooling and training to be certified to do what they do. And she said, I am not that person.
Also, as we look at this, something that stood out to me on your Twitter feed. You had retweeted an article. And this is something that I've been talking with people about on the ground. I might have to leave it there. I think we're about to get an update from the White House Task Force.
So I'm sorry to cut you off there. But Congressman, really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thanks Erica, thank you.
HILL: And let's listen to now. Again, this update coming to us from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. And just a reminder, if you're just joining us, we learned from our own press corps that as they were filing into the room, waiting for this briefing, for the first time everybody's temperature was taken.
They were told that this was out of an abundance of caution by the White House physician staff, saying it was out of an abundance of caution for anyone who could be in some sort of close proximity with either the President or the Vice President. And I guess this will tell us exactly why those temperatures were taken, as we see. Both the President and the Vice President making their way out now to the podium,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. We just completed a very good meeting of the Coronavirus Task Force, and we - we're really - they're really doing a great job by professionals. The results are very, very, very good. And when you compare this to what's happening around the world, we're very proud of our people.
And there's been a tremendous amount of coordination with states, with cities and they're a little smaller form of government and they have things going well. They're coordinating with us and certain in particular, I think California has been terrific - the relationship.
New York has been really good. We've had some really good relationships in terms of, especially the hotspots. And we're focused on these hotspots. Some areas, we will have no problem whatsoever and we hope to keep it that way.
Before, I turn this over to our great Vice President, to provide an update. I just want to express my appreciation for the hard work done by the people behind me and the people back in the various offices, including the fact that I just left the Oval Office. So we have some people there that are probably watching this or they're just working.
We're using the full power of the federal government to defeat the virus and that's what we've been doing. Last week, we secured an initial $8.3 billion from Congress for the coronavirus and that was quickly done and very efficiently done. I want to thank all members of Congress.
Yesterday, I declared a national emergency, which was a very big deal, because it opened up avenues that we would never be able to open up without it. And it will make it more - than it will make more than $50 billion available to us immediately in disaster relief funds, and that's available for states, territories and local governments. So that was really, really good.
We also reached an agreement yesterday on a new legislative package that will provide strong support for American families and communities in dealing with the coronavirus. So it was done very, very bipartisan. It was very nice to see it probably the cooperation.
I want to thank Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who did a fantastic job and worked with Nancy Pelosi and their representatives, and it was really great. It worked out very well. And a lot of people are benefiting by it. A lot of a lot of provisions in the bill, which they're going to be discussing with you today. And they're tremendous provision. So that's something that we should talk about.
I was honored to see that the stock market, you we were mostly there with us, set our record in a short period of time - over a 45-minute period that we had the press conference yesterday in the Rose Garden. That's - that was a record - an all-time record. I think we should do one of them every day, perhaps. How about every about five times a day. We'll do one five times a day. But that was something to watch.
And I had no idea. We walked back. I said, so how did that work out? They said, sir, you just set a new record in the history of the stock market. So that was pretty good. And those great companies that were there, they couldn't have been too unhappy either when you think about it, because they're all very big, publicly listed companies, so they did a good job.
And more importantly, they're going to do a good job. When you look at CVS and Walmart and all of the tremendous people that were there yesterday, these are the biggest and the best and they're opening up their facilities. They are opening up - they are right now - literally working right now on opening - doing something that's never been done before to the extent that we're doing it. And so we're very proud of them.
Also, the bill provides for free coronavirus testing for all Americans who should be tested. So people that are getting tested are getting this free. They don't have to pay. Because lot of people said, gee, that's a lot of money. And it is. It's a pretty complex test actually and it costs money and it's being provided free. So people don't have to worry about that.
It also provides paid sick and family medical leave for those who need it, including for those who have the virus, for caregivers, and those looking after children affected by school closures. So that's all taken care of also.
And we'll continue all of these different actions. We have other things planned. We're going to also be working with companies that are affected financially. Our country is in the best financial shape with so different than in the past over the years. If you look at some of the real big crises we had. It was financial problems and different things.
We now are in very, very strong financial shape with all of the trade and all of the other things that we've been doing. It's been pretty amazing. We helped the Federal Reserve, will finally get on board and do what they should do, because we're doing things that they should be doing, frankly, and we can all do them together. But they should be much more proactive.
Other boards, another countries and people representing those countries are taking a much more aggressive action than our fed and for the most part, so we'd like to see the - you know, if you look at Central Bank's yesterday what they did. We want to see our Federal Reserve be much more proactive. It's important. But in the meantime, we're doing things that are - that have been really well received.
I guess, you saw that yesterday at the end of the day, with what we've done. We have a lot of things to tell you in terms of respirators, in terms of all of the different things or the masks are being made by the millions - millions and millions. We have plenty now. But we're wondering for the millions. We're ordering worst case scenario. Always - we always say worst case scenario. And that's where we're going.
So I just want to thank everybody. I think the press has been really - over the last 24 hours, I think their representations really been very fair for the most part - been very fair. We're all in this together. It's something that nobody expected. It came out of China. And it's one of those things that happened. It's nobody's fault. We all will solve this problem. We'll solve it well.
I think the American people have been incredible in the way they've acted. There's been - and if you look at companies and sports leagues and all of the things, what they've done is just something very special. Without being told necessarily. In some cases, perhaps they were told actually. But for the most part, they want to get it over with it. They want to get it over with quickly and with very little death.
As of this moment, we have 50 deaths, which is - a lot of good decisions were made or that number could be many times - that's based on a lot of good decisions. One or two in particular, you know, that Europe was declared the hotspot yesterday - a big hotspot. They're number one. And we made a decision quite a bit prior to that, but we saw what was happening.
But if you have any questions, this group will be very happy to do it. But I just want to say they have been led by Mike Pence. They have been incredible - the job they are doing. They're working 20 hours a day. This man is working 20 hours a day or maybe more. Is it more, I think it's more.
Tony has been working - I'm just looking at this whole group, and we've created a number of new stars, including the gentleman right behind me. I watched him the other day. It was such a fantastic job you did and I really appreciate it. But they're going to be answering questions and we have a lot of new information. So I think you'll find it very interesting. And I'll be going back to the Oval Office. Thank you.
REPORTER: Mr. President, there are so many people right now, they're rushing to Costco. They're rushing the groceries stores all the country, they are filling up their baskets. Is that the right move?
Do you think that people should actually be saying, you know, maybe conserve as opposed to buy also? Also overnight, Apple, sir, they announced that they're going to be closing all their stores for two weeks. Do you want to see other retail outlets, restaurants, stuff like that do the same thing?
TRUMP: I think as long as they do it, I think it's - frankly, it's good if they do it. I think what Apple did is fine. And when to keep people away for a little while, just keep them away. And you know, when it gets better, well, people are going and buying things and I understand that.
By the way. I had my temperature taken coming into the room.
REPORTER: So did we.
TRUMP: You did? Good.
REPORTER: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Let's compare.
REPORTER: Did all of us.
TRUMP: Good. Well, that means we're all looking good. I also took the test last night. Yes, and I decided I should, based on the press conference yesterday, people were asking did I take the test?
REPORTER: When will be the result Mr. President?
TRUMP: I don't know whatever it takes - a day or two days, whatever it is. They send it to a lab.
REPORTER: Why did you take it.
REPORTER: Sir, you've been sending mixed messages...
TRUMP: All because the presses...
REPORTER: Mr. President, respectfully, you've been sent mixed messages. We watched it, you shook hands with people yesterday, you have talked about 5 million tests being available, probably won't need that many. Has your own sense of urgency evolved and are you changing what you are doing?
TRUMP: No, I've been urgent. This is urgent for me right from the beginning. You know that, because I closed up our country to China.
REPORTER: But why are you shaking hands sir?
TRUMP: Because it almost becomes a habit and you get out of that habit. And frankly, I was a non-handshaker for the most part. I'd never believe that shaking hands - once you become a politician. And I noticed it too, political people walk up to me, they want to shake my hand and said, well, you know...
REPORTER: But this (CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: Just wait a minute - wait a minute. Just take it nice and easy, OK, just relax. People come up to me. They shake hands, they put their hand out. It's sort of a natural reflex. And we're all getting out of it. All of us have that problem. Somebody comes up to you, they put the hand out you probably tend to just shake it. And we're all getting out of that.
Shaking hands is not a great thing to be doing right now, I agree.
But people put their hand out, sometimes I put the hand out. You don't think about it. People are thinking about it more and more. We have to think about it. It's important.
Somebody said yesterday, I touched the microphone. I was touching it because we have different height people and I'm trying to make it easy for them because they're going to touch because they wouldn't be able to reach the mic. They wouldn't be able to speak in the mic. So I move the mic down and they said, oh, he touched the microphone. Well, if I don't touch it, they're going to have to touch it, somebody's going to have to, so I might as well be the one to do it.
But no, we all have to get away from it. I mean, getting away from shaking hands is a good thing. And possibly that's something that comes out of this. Maybe people shouldn't be shaking hands for the long term because it does transmit flu and other things. You know, we have flu in our country that kills on average 36,000 people a year, 36,000 people.
And, you know, that's something that we're not talking about. But as of this moment, we've lost 50, possibly a little less than 50, but probably 50 people. And we're going to try and keep that number as low as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us how did the test go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Pentagon is telling service members and their families not to travel domestically. Should all Americans follow that same advice?
TRUMP: Well, if you don't have to travel, I wouldn't do it. If you don't have to travel -- we want this thing to end. We don't want a lot of people getting infected. We want it to end and end as quickly as possible. So far, I think we've done a fantastic job. I really think that the people behind me have not been given the credit that they deserve because they have done a fantastic job.
When you see all the school closures, when you see the school closures, it's very important. But it caused us a lot of problems. The bill we signed yesterday takes care of a lot of those problems with children staying at home and their parents are working. Now we take care of that issue with what we passed last night. That has to go through the Senate. I have to sign it, but that will happen.
But I'm now going back to the White House. You have great professionals and -- if there's anything that comes up, if there's anything --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President. I just wanted to follow- up on that. Are you considering other travel restrictions, perhaps domestically in that regard? Can you describe what type of --
TRUMP: Specifically from certain areas, yes, we are. And we're working with the states and we are considering other restrictions, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reuters is reporting that you're going to extend the European travel ban to the U.K. and Ireland on Monday? Is that accurate?
TRUMP: We're looking at it very seriously, yes, because they've had a little bit of activity, unfortunately. So, we're going to be looking into that. We have actually already have looked at it and that is going to be announced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just criticized the Fed, yet again. If I could just get a little clarity on your thinking on this, it's been a hallmark of your presidency. You're always going after the Fed. If you feel so strongly about it, why don't you dismiss the chairman? Or do you think you're powerless to do so? TRUMP: No, I think I have the right to do that or the right to remove him as chairman. He has, so far, made a lot of bad decisions, in my opinion. We had this great and we will soon have again because I think you're going to have a tremendous bounce when this is over. I think there's a pent-up bounce that's going to be tremendous. I think you saw that yesterday with the stock market.
No, I'm not happy with the Fed because I think that they are following, not leading. We should be leading. I'm not happy because if you look at the Central Banks of other -- you know, other Central Banks, largely they're lower than us, their rate. And their equivalent of the Fed rate is lower, in some cases by two points. In some cases, it's a lot. In some cases, very substantially.
And I thought that the Fed would be and should be much more proactive as opposed to following. Our Fed is following. We have the number one currency in the world by a factor of many times as you know. We have the currency. We have the power. We have, by far, the strong currency. Also, you look at the dollar, the strength of the dollar. Our Fed is not doing what they should be doing.
We shouldn't have a Fed rate that's higher than our competitor nations. You look at Germany, they're essentially under zero. They're negative. There are many countries negative. Japan is negative. Germany is negative. Others are negative. And we're paying higher interest rates.
And what I'd like to do is frankly refinance our debt. We could refinance our debt very easily at a much lower rate. We have some tremendous opportunities right now, but Jerome Powell is not making it easy. No, I have the right to remove. I'm not doing that. No, I'm not doing that. I have the right to also take him and put him in a regular position and put somebody else in charge. And I haven't made any decisions on that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your temperature rate, Mr. President? Was your temperature normal, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Totally normal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello Mr. Vice President.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, good afternoon, everyone. As the President just said, we just completed the White House Coronavirus Task Force Meeting in the Situation Room. And we continue to implement the President's vision, not just for a whole of government response to the coronavirus, but a whole of America approach.
The focus of our task force today and going forward is on implementing the President's public and private partnership on testing, focusing on ensuring that state and local authorities have the guidance and the support to ensure mitigation, particularly in areas where we've seen community spread. And we're continuing to lean in at the President's direction on addressing capacity issues in our hospitals and with regard to equipment.
Now let me reiterate the President's gratitude, not just for the team behind me and the team behind them, all of our federal agencies that are literally working every day to bring a whole of government approach to this. But we also want to commend all of the governors across the country. I'll be speaking again to all the governors, all 50 states and the territories tomorrow.
But as the President said yesterday in the Rose Garden, we couldn't be more grateful for all of the governors, particularly in areas where we've had community spread for the seamless cooperation that's taking place. And we commend local health authorities and all of those who are literally on the front lines.
Also grateful for all the businesses that you saw in high relief yesterday, businesses around the country, in sports and entertainment, in retail that are making decisions based on CDC guidelines and good common sense to protect the American people. And lastly, as the President also said, we just want to thank the American people for listening to local authorities, listening to recommendations from the CDC.
We'll hear more about that in just a moment from Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. But as we're seeing, not surprisingly, as we've seen in the past, the American people are all responding to look after not only their own health, but their families, and their communities. And one story after another is truly inspiring to the President and to all of us.
As you know, it's been a brisk few day. The President declared a national emergency yesterday, freeing up significant federal resources for state and local authorities, as well as our national response. The President announced that unprecedented public and private partnership on testing.
And let me say that at 5:00 tomorrow, we will be detailing the progress that our team is making. I can tell you they are literally working around the clock with private companies. We are very pleased that Thermo Fisher was just approved last night by the FDA in record time to also be providing what's called a high throughput test. That will actually increase the capacity of this public and private partnership.
But again, details on that in terms of when the local sites will be available at CVS and Walgreens and Walmart and other locations, what communities those will initially be available in, when the website will go online, as well as how this will continue to roll out, 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Eastern Standard Time, we'll detail that.
Last night, the House of Representatives passed legislation which addressed the priorities of President Trump had laid out through the American people in weeks before that. I want to join President Trump in thanking Speaker Pelosi, our leader, McCarthy, the Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives who, as the President said earlier today, pulled together, pulled together to pass legislation, and is meeting this moment in the bipartisan health first spirit that the American people would expect.
The secretary of the treasury will detail the legislation, but to be clear, the deal that passed the House last night will head to the Senate early next week and delivers on the President's plan for strong health and economic support, particularly focused on those most impacted, including hardworking blue collar Americans who may not currently have paid family leave today.
It provides free coronavirus testing for uninsured Americans and it builds on the decisions that President Trump made expanding coverage for Medicare, Medicaid, and also getting a commitment from private health insurance companies to join with us to waive all co-pays on coronavirus testing. So now testing will be free for every American, and those who have insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, other programs and even the uninsured.
The legislation also establishes tax credits that the secretary of the treasury will describe that will provide paid sick and family medical leave for coronavirus-related employment interruptions. I expect Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci will reiterate this.
If you are sick, now you need not be concerned if you are an hourly wage earner in America. You need not be concerned about staying home. If you're sick, stay home. You're not going to miss a paycheck because of this legislation that's moving through the Congress. We'll make sure that your employer, including small businesses, have the ability to provide paid leave to you.
This also provides funding and flexibility to ensure that senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families have access to emergency nutritional assistance. And it incentivizes states to ease access to employment benefits. Again, the President and I are profoundly grateful for the bipartisan spirit that drove this legislation. And let me also say how grateful we are for the secretary of the treasury and the long hours that he put in negotiating this measure.
Let me say also, last night at midnight, the Department of Homeland Security implemented the President's decision to suspend all travel from Europe, passing through 13 airports. Acting Secretary Wolf will detail the implementation of that.
To be clear, countries where we have suspended travel under Section 212(f), Americans may still return to the United States. Legal residents may still return. They are being screened at some 13 airports as we speak. If they are identified as being symptomatic for any illness, there is additional response on site. But those Americans are being encouraged to return home and self-quarantine for 14 days. That was -- That started at midnight last night. And the secretary will detail it. In a few moments, I'll ask Dr. Fauci to update us on cases, as well as current CDC guidance for all Americans. And all of you are already aware that this week, we issued specific guidance to about a half a dozen states where we've seen community spread. Dr. Birx will touch briefly on the public-private partnership testing plan and also speak about what the data is showing at this moment about the best guidance for every American.
Acting Secretary Wolf and I both want to join the President in commending the cruise line industry. They made a decision yesterday, 85 percent of all the domestic cruise lines announced they would be suspending cruise line operations for a period of 30 days. And Chad Wolf will explain to you the importance of that decision. We want to commend the cruise line industry for working with us.
And as we met last week on this day with cruise line industry executives, we're going to be working very vigorously over the next 30 days to implement new policies that will ensure that when the cruise lines start back up, they'll be safer and healthier places than ever before. But a great industry, American people love it and enjoy it. And we're going to make sure that it's there for many, many years to come.
Also, as the President just foreshadowed in our task force meeting today, the President has made a decision to suspend all travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland, effective midnight Monday night, Eastern Standard Time. Chad Wolf will describe details of that.
But again, as the President just suggested, all of our health experts presented information. Dr. Fauci will reflect on some of those numbers, made a unanimous recommendation to the President that we suspend all travel from the U.K. and Ireland that will be effective midnight Monday night, Eastern Standard Time.
Again, Americans in the U.K. or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home. But as the secretary will detail, they will be funneled through specific airports and processed. We continue to emphasize that the risk of serious illness for the average American remains low. But the data shows that seniors with serious underlying health conditions are our most vulnerable population, the people most susceptible to serious medical outcomes. Seema Verma, a few moments will talk about the President's decision yesterday to restrict all visitors in all nursing homes around the country and other measures that we have taken.
But it's so important, so important for all of us. All of us who are blessed with having senior citizens in our family, like my 88-year-old mom, is -- let's look after seniors with serious underlying health conditions and make sure that every American around them is practicing the best kind of hygiene and the best kind of measures to ensure that they're not exposed.
We'll hear also from Dr. Carson and the Surgeon General. And before we wrap up and take some questions. With that, let me recognize Dr. Tony Fauci, for an update on where we stand and recommendations and guidance.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Just a quick review of the numbers as of late afternoon yesterday, let me start off quickly, globally, and then we'll go to the United States.
Right now, there are 129 countries that have involvement with coronavirus globally. The numbers are 132 plus thousand. So it's a little bit more than 132,000, about 7,500 of which are new cases. Importantly, and this is something we've mentioned over the last couple of days, that if you look at what was formerly the main feeder of this coronavirus outbreak was China, they have 80,000 or 81,000 new cases, but only 11 new cases and only seven new deaths.
Things have switched over now to outside of China, which has actually triggered our decision, the decision of the President to do the travel restrictions in other areas besides China. And I think it's important to recognize that because when this is all over and it will end, you will see a curve of how the coronavirus outbreak evolved.
It's not going to be a uni-dimensional or homogeneous because countries are going to do this and then that. We've seen it already with China. We're starting to see with Korea, which brings us now to what we can expect in our own country. So, if you look at the domestic cases, there are about 2,226 including the repatriations, 50 deaths, 532 new cases and nine new deaths, which means, we have not reached our peak.
Now, we will see more cases, and we will see more suffering and death predominantly, as the Vice President said, among the vulnerable in our society, the individuals with the conditions that we spoke to and the elderly. But built in that is a challenge. And the challenge is, we still have the opportunity to influence the course of that curve. So, what we would like to see is that when this is all over, our curve was not like that, our curve was like this. So, that's the reason why we're implementing the things we're talking about.
And finally, I just want to make a comment about yesterday, you know, as a physician, which is what I primarily am, who takes care of patients every day before I was doing this is that, there were things that happened yesterday that I think are going to be really important to the people out there who are going to be impacted by this, but particularly by the physicians.
And that is the President declaring a State of National Emergency because that will be what I thought the word that I use essentially unshackling us from any of the things that are going to get in the way of our implemented, particularly the new powers giving to the Secretary of HHS, Alex Azar and the departments within his agency, particularly CMS, which you're going to hear about shortly.
And within that group, particularly the nursing home situation, which we've really got to protect, the other thing is, we always get asked about testing. You saw the CBO out there. Now it's all systems go, let's look forward, the responsibility is going to be with us but also with them. Because as we get knowledge about new testing, will alleviate the anxiety that we have in the world about we don't know what's going on, but it also, it will give the individual physician and individual citizen, the opportunity to know where they stand.
I'll stop there and happy to answer questions later. Thank you.
PENCE: Thank you Dr. Fauci.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Thank you. Thank you. Good afternoon. I just completed my second week. So I want to just start with the four things that I have learned in the last two weeks.
One, we're at our best when the country comes together in a bipartisan way. And that has really been extraordinary to witness. But secondly, what you may not have seen as much of is the willingness of state and local governments to work together with the federal government in a seamless way, independent of party affiliation.
The third thing has been the remarkable decrease in bureaucracy and red tape in order to get us to where we are today. And this is particularly evident in the CDC. And then finally, the understanding that in order to unleash and serve every American, we have to create public-private partnerships that bring together the extraordinary strength of our private sector.
So when we saw issues with testing, and again, I want to remind everyone, it was a surveillance system that was set up by public health institutions in the United States, our CDC, to be a surveillance test, we then -- because there was no other move to a diagnostic tests. But now we have the full power of our testing capacity. What do I mean by that?
We're looking at what it will take to have consumer access, and that's what the private sector is bringing to us. Secondly, we had to have automated high throughput testing, because we want the American people to be able to get their results quickly. And you've heard from Roche and Thermo Fisher, that access. But finally, we'll want to make sure that patients get results.
And that was what's critical in that bill yesterday on reporting and requiring reporting because obviously, as we decentralized as we move out of state and local laboratories, public health laboratories as we move out into the hospitals and the communities, we need to know about the test results so that we can focus resources where they're needed the most.
Finally, I want to include -- conclude with something that's very important. When you are tested, and our results look very similar to South Korea now to date, where South Korea, 96 plus percent of people with symptoms were negative. That means also that they had respiratory symptoms. Let's remind all of us, most respiratory diseases are contagious.
So if you have any respiratory symptoms, you want to protect yourself and treat yourself but you also want to protect others. And so let's everyone assume when they have a respiratory illness, that you have a contagious illness, because if it isn't allergies, it's contagious. And let's use those precautions across the board. Unless when you get a negative test, that means you're negative that day. That doesn't mean that you couldn't get the virus spreading overnight. Because it replicates in your nose and your nasal secretions, and you would have a positive test tomorrow.
So if you have a negative test, that doesn't mean that you can discontinue precautions, it doesn't mean you can start taking risks because you were negative. So let's ensure that if you had symptoms, you are contagious. Let's treat yourself as being contagious. And if you have a negative test, let's make sure that you're still protecting others from whatever you do have. And that doesn't take -- reassure you personally and you take additional risk.
Finally, I just wanted to conclude with a group of clients and patients that we are all very worried about. These are individuals that we call long term survivors from HIV. They're here across the country that have survived more than four decades with HIV. Many of them still carry a level of immunocompromised. To all of them out there, please take care of yourself. Please ensure that you're doing everything possible to ensure you don't get exposed. Thank you.
PENCE: Thank you, Deb, great comments. Mr. Secretary, on the legislation that passed the House.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. So first, in particular, I want to thank Kevin McCarthy and Kevin Brady and all the Republicans on the House side who worked with us around the clock. I'd also like to thank Mitch McConnell and his team who were providing us input as well. I especially want to thank Speaker Pelosi, who was literally available to us round the clock for the last three days. And also I want to just thank the Vice President and the President who were very specifically involved in the details with us in providing guidance.
So I will just highlight some of the issues here. The first thing I would just say is this delivers on what the President announced in his speech the other night. Obviously, people who need to be quarantined and people who have the virus, we want them at home, and we want them to continue to get paid. We don't want to be in a situation where they fear not getting paid during this two week period of time.
So the first thing that this does is it creates a very seamless process for people that work for small and medium sized businesses, they will continue to get paid by their employer. They don't have to worry about big government and coming to big government to get their checks, they will continue to get paid. We were also very sensitive to small and medium sized businesses. Many of these businesses covered sick pay, but they're going to have many more people that may be on quarantine than normal sick pay, and we didn't want them to have to bear the cost.
So 100 percent of the cost for these limited situations will be taken care of by the federal government. And then finally, we want to think of again, as I said, how do we deliver money to the people in the quickest way? We didn't want to take six months to implement some government system. So I want to thank everybody at the IRS the way we're able to do this again, the IRS will issue tax credits. For most employers, they'll just deduct the money from what they owe us.
But I want to emphasize, for small and medium sized businesses that have cashflow problems, we will issue guidelines, you'll be able to come to the IRS, get the money in advance, so you don't have cashflow issues. So we were very careful in balancing and making sure that people got paid with not creating undue burden.
We also will have unique circumstances where schools are closed. In many places, parents may be able to telecommute and take care of their kids and continue to get paid for their companies. But in certain circumstances that parents have to be home to take care of youngsters or elderly people again, we wanted to ensure that they had the ability to do that.
And as the Vice President mentioned, for kids that received meals in schools, the schools were closed, we wanted to make sure that those kids would continue to get lunches paid for. I especially want to thank the task force two things that were very important to us in this. There's a provision as it relates to masks, we can now ramp up to 30 million masks a month. And we wanted to make sure there was free testing. But there's also a provision that the states will communicate back to CDC these results. So we will very quickly get those results.
Last thing I want to say is, I thank the House for sticking around until very late last night at 12:30. I don't want people to be surprised we will be doing a technical correction on Monday morning, despite us working very hard. We had language agreed with the Speaker and with Kevin McCarthy. It didn't get into the final bill last night at 12:30. Kevin, the speaker, and I agreed that they would vote on it and have an agreement. There'll be a technical correction. So I don't want anybody to come back on Monday morning and be surprised by that.
So again, thank you to the Vice President and the President. And let me also just say I would describe this is like a baseball game. The first inning was the $8 billion. This is the second inning. We have a lot more we need to do with Congress. And the Speaker and I have acknowledged it. We will be working starting immediately. The airline's industry in particular, no different than after 911 has a very unique circumstances, the cruise industry, the hotel industry.
I would say we've got a lot more work to do. And we very much appreciate the bipartisan support and anticipate rolling things out very quickly.
PENCE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And thank -- I know the President would want me to say again, how grateful we are for all of your efforts on behalf of the American people.
Acting Secretary Chad Wolf is going to speak about cruise lines, the current suspension of travel and the expansion to the U.K. and Ireland. Mr. Secretary?
CHAD WOLF, ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thank you. Good afternoon. And let me start off by thanking the partnerships that we have with our private sector partners both in the airline industry and the cruise line industry for implementing a number of travel restrictions and security orders over the last several weeks and months.
As the Vice President and the President have outlined, we have issued new directives denying foreign nationals who have been in certain affected countries, that's been 28 countries to date, from entry into the U.S.
At the President's request, and again, as the Vice President outlined earlier, we've had a number of major cruise lines that have agreed to suspend outbound trips for 30 days. We've had a number of smaller operators to follow that suit. And then we have also given orders to a very small handful to not sail and that began at midnight last night as well.
Today, as the, again, as the Vice President outlined, the President made the decision due to the rising number of cases in the U.K. to apply these restrictions to both the U.K. and Ireland. So as we move forward again, these restrictions bar travel from for certain foreign nationals who have been present in the U.K. or Ireland in the past 14 days. And again, that goes effective midnight, Monday.
To be clear, the President's proclamation in these travel restrictions, do not apply to U.S. citizens. I want to be very clear about that. And the Vice President mentioned that. Do not apply for -- to U.S. citizens. So I think we saw some reporting of how the U.S. citizens get back from Europe quickly. They don't need to. They will be allowed into the U.S., legal permanent residents, family members under the age of 21, foreign diplomats, and then we have other exemptions that are outlined in the proclamation can certainly travel back to the U.S.
They will undergo some medical screening and some other questions when they arrive. And then they will be asked to self quarantine for 14 days. These restrictions to the U.K. and Ireland, just like the Shinkansen zone in China and Iran do not apply to cargo and economic air cargo, maritime cargo, economic shipping or the like.
So let me close again by saying the President has really taken unprecedented action to protect the safety and the security of the American public. These actions have never been taken before.
And so the Department, let me thank the Department of Homeland Security, 8the men and women of the Department, who are working day and night 24 hours a day to implement these restrictions.