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FDA Chief: Vaccine Trial Expected To Take 12 Months. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired March 19, 2020 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They tested positive, hopefully they're all going to get better. And it's one of those things, it's Congress, you know, it's one of those things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should they keep going to the Hill or should they --
TRUMP: Well, I don't think they're going to the Hill. I mean, I know some where they tested positive. They're in quarantine. And I know, Lindsey and many others are -- they didn't test it. But until they got the result, they put themselves in quarantine.
A number of people in Congress right now are in quarantine. They don't know the result. When they get the result, they'll either stay there and get better because people get better. I mean, most people are getting better, most by far, the people you get better. It doesn't mean it's not a tough one. It is a tough one. But no, when they -- many people in Congress have felt not perfect. Or they met somebody that wasn't perfect, it turned out to be positive. And they've put themselves in quarantine. I think Congress has behaved unbelievably well in that regard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President on a stimulus there, given what is happening to the economy, do you think a trillion dollar stimulus is enough?
TRUMP: We'll know about that later on. We'll see what happens. It depends how long, so much depends on what's going on in this room in terms of the medical. If we can stop it in its tracks, the virus, it's plenty. If we can't, we'll have to go back and talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you support the idea of the government taking an equity stake in certain companies?
TRUMP: I do. I really do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which companies --
(CROSSTALK) TRUMP: I'm not going to say but I think, so look, people are coming. People are coming in for money, in some cases, this is no fault of their own. But in some cases, where they did certain things over the course of the years, including buying back stock, you know, they bought back stock and they paid a high price for it as it turned out.
But maybe I view that as a little bit differently than somebody that didn't and somebody that built plants all over the United States, of which there were plenty of them too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- airlines or Boeing or what do you think it is?
TRUMP: We will be helping the airline industry. We will be helping the cruise ship industry. We probably will be helping the hotel industry. We'll probably be -- where jobs are created. You don't want to lose industries like this. These are incredible industries. You can't lose them. So we'll be focused on many industries.
And I have to say, I can't say that struggle enough, we will be helping small businesses. That's where it's complicated because a lot of small, you know, that's the engine of the of the country. We will be helping small businesses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- Dr. Hahn, Mr. President.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These two members of Congress that have tested positive for coronavirus, these will be bars that you need to pass this $1 trillion stimulus package for the economy. Do you expect this to slow down the delivery of checks for American families? And are you considering any executive action?
TRUMP: No. There could be. We're looking at a couple of things that I could do, hopefully we won't need it. But we can do was --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you looking at?
TRUMP: There's a lot of executive power. If we don't have to use it, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing. Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President. One for you and potentially as well, one for either Dr. Birx and Dr. Adams. Right now, the economy is essentially ground to a halt.
TRUMP: Thanks for telling us. We appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- stores have closed. Travel has slowed down.
TRUMP: Go ahead. What's the rest of the question? We know that. Everybody in the room knows that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, how long should those who are either not working right now or business owners who have to make critical decisions, how long should they expect the State of Affairs as it stands at this moment to play out and for the doctors behind you -- TRUMP: We'll be able to tell you that very -- I think in the near future. We'll see where we're going. You're going to see numbers. You've seen the graphs. You're going to see numbers and we'll be able to let you know. I will say that the American public has been incredible, for the most part, not at all cases, but for the most part.
So you'll be able to see what's happening over the desk. As we say, we had a 15-day period. You'll be able to tell a lot in a week or so not everything but we'll be able to see over a period of time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And for all the parents that are home right now, and this is a question for Dr. Birx or Dr. Adams, who are caring for their children and are curious as to when my kids be able to go back to school, what do you think is a realistic timeline?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WH CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Well, I think, you know, most -- all of those decisions are made at the state and local government level. And each state and local government has handled it differently. That's why we put out from the President, federal presidential guidance to every single person about what we think is important for the next two weeks.
And as we look at that data, we'll be able to see if it's having an impact. I think you've all seen the modeling studies, those were driven by the modeling studies showing that if you add these things together, they have a bigger impact than separately. And so those are part of the decision making. We had a whole group of modelers. And yesterday, they're compositing all the data together to look at this carefully because everyone has those same questions of what the impact will be and what pieces could essentially be removed and you still have the same level of impact in decreasing the spread of the virus.
The absolute key to this though, is every single American looking at the President guidelines and taking it seriously. The acts of selflessness that I am seeing are so impressive across the board. But if even 10 or 15 percent of the population decides that what they're doing today is more important than the health and welfare of the rest of the Americans, they can spread the virus in a very strong way, because you know, the level of contagion.
TRUMP: And I have to say, if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine works, or any of the other things that they're looking at that are not quite as far out, but if they work, your numbers are going to come down very rapidly. So we'll see what happens. But there's a real chance that they might work. Go ahead please, in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much Mr. President. Thank you so much. What is your message for some leaders in Latin-America, like the President of Brazil, who just on Sunday was taking photos with supporters, encouraging mass demonstrations? And just yesterday, President from Brazil said, and we should not be surprised if we see him in the next few days in a crowded subway in San Paolo or in a bus in Rio, because he is the president, he should be with the people. What do you think about that? What is your message?
TRUMP: Well, he's a friend of mine, number one. And number two, we had dinner the other night, and everybody said he was positive and he wasn't positive. He tested negative. So that was, I was quite happy when I heard that. But I have no message for him other than he's doing a good job in Brazil.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How about this --
TRUMP: He's doing a good job in Brazil. And he's very popular.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How about encouraging mass demonstration at this moment?
TRUMP: I can't tell you about that. I don't know about that. I have not heard that. He's doing a very good job. Brazil was very troubled before he got there. And he's -- the people love him, and he's popular. I think he's doing a very good job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, there are Americans who were traveling abroad who were essentially stuck, unable to come home. We spoke to a --
TRUMP: In Peru?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- 10 women who Americans, 10 --
TRUMP: Where, where?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we spoke to 10 American women who are in Morocco, for instance, all the flights have been canceled. Their hotel is shutting down. They literally have no place to stay, and no way to get home. They are asking you, they're asking the administration, the U.S. government for help, what can be done?
TRUMP: Yes. We know about it. We have groups, we have a group of young people in Peru. And we're working on taking care of that with a military.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So military evacuations.
TRUMP: Yes. We're looking to take -- no not evacuation, we're trying to get them out. And, you know, they got caught. They were late with their flights. We gave them a period of time. They didn't make it. But we're looking to get them out with military, probably through the military. We have a group of young people, I think young men or young people, could be women, also with them from Alabama, the great State of Alabama. And they're in Peru and we're working on that right now trying to get them out. It's a large group. It's about 300. We're going to work it out. Jeff?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President two sort of foreign policy related questions and your talk with the G7 leaders earlier this week, did you discuss together ending or postponing the Olympics? TRUMP: Yes. We did discuss it. As you know, Prime Minister Abe was on the call. And that's a big decision for him. And we don't know what his decision is. But we'd live with his decision. It's a tough situation. They've done an incredible job. Japan has done an incredible job on building the venues, getting them built. You know, you've seen so many Olympic venues that have been a disaster over the years where they cost five times more than they was supposed to. They weren't ready in time. Japan has been just the opposite. They built it beautifully. They built it for what it was supposed to be built for.
But then he got hit with the same thing that the rest of the world got hit with unexpectedly. He has told us that he has not made a decision as to what to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And also on foreign policy, have you spoken to the leaders of Saudi Arabia or Russia and encourage them to stop this glut of oil that is affecting the market?
TRUMP: Well, the one thing I will tell you is that from the standpoint, you always get a little bit torn, because, you know, until we became the leading producer, I was always for the person driving the car and filling up the tank of gas and you'd have gasoline and the prices were, if they were too high, I would always raise hell with OPEC. And then I was always somebody that likes it. I never thought I'd see 22 and 24 and $28 a barrel. But that's what we have.
And in one way, our consumer is very much helped. It's like a massive tax increase that's bigger than any tax increase -- decrease that you could give. You know, we can give all these big tax cuts, but they're paying so little for gasoline. But on the other hand, it hurts a great industry and a very powerful industry. So I spoke with numerous people that have a lot to do with it. And we have a lot of power over the situation. And we're trying to find some kind of a medium ground.
You know, it's very devastating to Russia because when you look, I mean, their whole economy is based on that. And they have -- we have the lowest oil prices in decades. So it's very devastating to Russia. I would say it's very bad for Saudi Arabia. But they're in a fight. They were in a fight on price. They were in a fight on output. And at the appropriate time, I'll get involved. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President. And forgive me, if I missed it, what will the Carnival Cruise ships be used for?
TRUMP: Well, Micky called up and he said, if you need them, and we haven't said yes, I'll call Governor Cuomo. I'll call Gavin from Gavin Newsome, Governor from California. I'll call a few of the other governors are going to bring it up today because we're meeting through phone, through telephone, telephonically as they say, in a little while at FEMA, I'm going out with FEMA from here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you can increase hospital beds?
TRUMP: Well, you can increase places to stay, let's say places to stay, if it works. I mean, you know, I don't know maybe people will want to. But he made the offer. It was a very generous offer. And he said that he has some ships that would be ideally suited for what we're doing. And certainly they have a lot of rooms. They're big and they have a lot of rooms. So we appreciate it from Carnival.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At what point in the future will any Americans who wants to test be able to get a test because you're talking about not needing to test right now if you're not showing any symptoms, but a lot of --
TRUMP: Not needing the tests?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- are only getting tested if you're showing symptoms but a lot of this --
TRUMP: No, you should only get. You should. I didn't have any symptoms that I got a test. But I got a test because you people were driving everybody crazy. So that's the only reason. I had no symptoms. But I had a test. And my doctor told me, don't get it. You don't need it. Everybody said, you don't need it. But I had to do it because the press was going crazy.
And then after I got it, they said, you shouldn't have gotten it. You had no symptoms. You know, the whole thing. So in other words, if you get it, it was no good. But that's a unique case, unfortunately. But no, people that don't show symptoms and people that have doctors that say they shouldn't get it. I would rely on that. Yes, I would rely on that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, thank you. Mr. President, thank you. I have two questions. Do you consider the term Chinese --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir. Thank you.
TRUMP: Very good. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have two questions.
TRUMP: You treat me very nicely. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you considered the term Chinese food racist --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: because it's food that originates in China or it has Chinese --
TRUMP: No. I don't think it's racist. I don't think it's racist at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On that note, major left wing news media, even in this room, have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives, and they're claiming you're racist for making these claims about Chinese fires. Isn't alarming that major media players just oppose you are consistently siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals, and Latin gangs and cartels, and they work right here at the White House with direct access to you and your team?
TRUMP: It amazes me when I read the things that I read. It amazes me when I read "The Wall Street Journal", which is always so negative. It amazes me when I read "The New York Times", it's not even -- I don't, I barely read it. You know, we don't distribute it in the White House anymore. And the same thing with "The Washington Post". Because you see, I know the truth. And people out there in the world, they really don't know the truth. They don't know what it is.
They use different slogans and different concepts for me almost every week trying to catch something. Last week, it was OK as you see me, there's no chaos. I have no chaos. I'm the one telling everybody to be calm. There's no chaos in the White House. We have unbelievable professionals. It's really, I mean, I think I came up with a term, I hope I came up with the term, but it is fake news. It's more than fake news. It's corruptness.
They write stories without calling anybody. They write a story, today, I had a couple of stories where they never call me ever that I know of. At least nobody tells me. They'll write a story about me without even asking my opinion on something. It's totally fake. I've never seen, I mean, there is a story in "The Wall Street Journal" today about, you know, about how we've done. We've done a phenomenal job on this.
The governor's derivative, even Gavin Newsom, who, you know, I'm usually fighting with over the fires and I think you should do a different kind of a job at the -- in the forests and lots of things. We've -- we argue a lot. But Gavin Newsom has been very, very generous. Andrew Cuomo has been really very generous. I mean, they're saying we're doing a great job and everybody is saying. But then you'll read this fake -- phony story in "The Wall Street Journal" or "The Washington Post" is going wild lately. I don't know what happened to them. I guess something happened like we don't call them back or whatever. But "The Washington Post", these are very dishonest media sources. They're very dishonest.
And you know what, someday, hopefully in five years, I won't be here. And that'll be fine. I will have done I think a great job because I don't think anyone has done as much in three and a half years as I've done, I don't think, and the administration. This administration has done a great job. But the press is very dishonest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But more than dishonest, they're siding with state propaganda -- TRUMP: Well, I think they do. I mean, they are siding with -- they are siding with China. They are doing things that they shouldn't be doing. They're sided with many others, China's the least of it. So why they are doing this? You'll have to ask them. But if we had an honest media in this country, our country would be an even greater place.
So ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. We are very excited about -- we are very excited about, you know, specifically what we talked about with the chloroquine. I think the -- I think it could be something really incredible. It could totally depress the times that we had mentioned, like -- excuse me, excuse me. It could totally depress anytime that we're talking about if it works.
There are a lot of reasons that I have to believe, again, Dr. Hahn is the expert, but a lot of reasons that I would have to think that it could have a very positive effect or a positive effect, maybe not very, but maybe, maybe positive. I think it's to me very, very exciting. And the beauty is, I think I can say this, Steve, the beauty is that these drugs have been out there. So the really danger part of the drugs, especially chloroquine, it's been out there for years. So we know it's something that can be taken safely. So it's very important.
TRUMP: Go ahead. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Hahn, can you just give a little bit more operation about the process by which folks are going to be able to actually use these medicines because I believe there were at least two sided maybe more, how quickly do you think people will be able to use it, and then if you can update us on the vaccine and its fast track --
DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: Well, the President has asked us to expedite this. And what I want to assure you because of the questions that were asked, we want to make sure that this is done well and right for the American people. The President is right, with an off the shelf drug, we do have a lot of information about the side effects of the drug. So that really helps in terms of expediting.
But I want to assure you that we're working as quickly as we can. I don't want to speculate about a timeline at this point. With respect to vaccines, that's in phase one trial, as I mentioned. We're expecting that to proceed. And we're working with a number of different other companies about that vaccine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President had noted, phase one was fast track, is it possible phase two, and phase three can be fast tracked, that we might see a vaccine before that year, you said it could potentially be used?
HAHN: This is a terrific question. And we are really trying hard at FDA to partner with great industry, great academic partners to do exactly that. No promises can be made. But one thing that we're doing is really working hard to fast track as much as possible.
TRUMP: And they are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Dr. Hahn, on the antivirus --
TRUMP: We're going to have other times to meet. We'll be meeting, hopefully not for very long. I mean, I would like to see this get cleared up. And we think we've -- to me, this was a very important conference, because I really think there's great potential here. And a lot of people are going to be trying it soon, like literally very soon, literally, in a matter of days, if not sooner, in some cases. It's already being experimented with. And there's been some very good results. We'll see what happens.
But if we can be even partially right, maybe we'll be fully right, but even partially right on it, this whole subject becomes a much more pleasant subject. So thank you all, and we'll -- we're going over to FEMA now. So I don't know who's going. But we're going to FEMA. We're going to be discussing with the governors and lots of other people. Now, I think that's enough. Thank you.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I'm John King in Washington. You see the President leaving the White House briefing room with the Vice President, other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, another one hour plus, one hour 15-minute remarkable briefing from beginning to end.
The President of the United States holding court, at one point, holding out hope that drugs that are already on the marketplace for other illnesses could be helpful to coronavirus patients. We'll get back to that in a second. Also some detailed and important exchanges about the availability of medical supplies, principally masks and other protective gear for American healthcare workers. The Vice President insisting the pipeline is ramping up. We get a very different story when we talk to doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals on the frontlines.
The President also talking about the economic stimulus plan. He's trying to get through Congress acknowledging, there will be more bailouts in the future, bailouts now for the airline, the tourism industry, some help for laid off American workers as we saw a new evidence today of layoffs spiking dramatically and that's just the first wave sadly. A lot of ground to cover there.
I want to get straight and start with our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, very rare to hear a President of the United States, he started the briefing with this then he came back toward the end talking about two specific medications, one a malaria drug, one another medication.
[12:50:13] The President is saying, on the one hand, he thinks he used these term these could be game changers. He said he believed it could happen very, very quickly. But the FDA administrator coming in and saying they're now testing trials on whether these drugs do help coronavirus patients. At the end of the briefing, he said he didn't want to give a timeline. But in the middle of the briefing, he said it could be three to six months before any new therapies are approved. Help our viewers who are desperate for information at this moment wander through the hype and the facts.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, John, I mean everybody wants a therapy for what is going on with this novel coronavirus. I mean that is clear. Anywhere that you live in the world, you'd like to have some great news with regard to a new therapy. But the thing is, John, there is a process, a scientific process by which these things work.
And chloroquine, as the President talked about, is an existing medication. It is used to treat a parasite-based disease, malaria, not a viral-based disease. There were some studies back even during the days of SARS, in the lab, John, in the lab, looking at the possibility of chloroquine affecting the cells and preventing the virus from entering human cells.
But look, we're very early days on this. I mean, you know, we -- there's no clinical trial that's really been conducted on this. The WHO was asked about chloroquine as a therapy some time ago and basically the answer was something like, let's not get ahead of ourselves here yet.
So I think that still has to be sort of the way that this is approached. I mean, you know, the President calling it a game changer, you know, I get the need to sort of provide hope for people. But, you know, there's been a lot of trials out there, there was one that was just in the New England Journal of Medicine again, another very promising trial using two HIV drugs, Lopinavir and Ritonavir.
And everyone thought that was going to be a game changer. And just yesterday, they said, sadly, it showed no improvement over just standard of care. There's a reason, they're science, there's a reason that you have to try all these things. It is true that this drug has a, what's called, a low side effect profile. So the idea of safety testing is sort of already done, because this drug has been widely used for malaria. But does it work for this? We don't know.
So I think, you know, you have to exert a little bit of caution. Everybody wants to be hopeful, John. But we got to exert a little bit of caution when hearing about these new types of drugs. They need to be trialed, like everything else.
KING: And I want to stay with you for a second before I bring in some other important guests because this is very important. At a time when people are anxious, at a time when the case is just during our hour waiting through that briefing, 10,919 confirmed cases now in the United States, 163 deaths confirmed in the United States. People are desperate as their self. There's, you know, they're using social distancing. They're trying to listen to the President, trying to listen to others about these guidelines. But family members getting sick about whether there's help available.
It's just remarkable. I just -- how remarkable for a President of the United States to list specific drugs --
KING: -- the stock -- and pharmaceutical stocks went up. And this is that it's a part of this up, as the President was saying that when, again, he says, we're going to, you know, he says this, I think it would be great, it could be a game changer, it might bring down the numbers rapidly, there's a real chance this will bring it down rapidly. And you're saying the medicine and the scientific community says, slow down, months?
GUPTA: I mean, first of all, slow down and even saying that, because we don't know. And then on top of that, it does have to go through trials, and that will take months. I mean, there are hospitals at the University of Nebraska, they've already been looking into this. I mean, this is -- these trials are ongoing, but their trials, John.
I mean, you know, I mean, here's the issue, just because something has a low side effect profile that's obviously important. You don't want to do any harm as Dr. Fauci and frankly, everyone in the medical establishment has been saying. But if you focus so much on something and ultimately is not going to be of benefit. You may divert time resources from other things. So there's lots of potential candidates out there that are antiviral sort of candidates. The vaccine is a separate thing, right? You have the vaccine to prevent illness, the antivirals to try and treat illness.
There are several candidates out there, this is one of them. But, you know, the data just doesn't exist yet. And, in fact, you know, I was just looking at something the World Health Organization was asked about this. And it wasn't even on their initial list of most promising candidates, at least a week or so ago. So it's about $3 a pill. Bayer is going to donate 3 million pills. My understanding is we just got this alert as part of these trials.
But then you got to go through trials. And, you know, I mean, the scientific community is always at that inflection point of hope and honesty. But, you know, we have to be honest here. We just don't know enough. And I don't want people to get a false hope here.
KING: Right. I think that's a critical point. Look, we were glad that the government is testing everything.
GUPTA: That's right.
KING: If an idea comes up, put it on the table, get it into the lab. But I think it's also critically important when the President of the United States starts a briefing by talking about a game changer that we'd be careful and put it into context for someone out there who might have a family member who's very sick and desperate for some treatment. [12:55:11]
Sanjay, stay with us because one of the questions here is, as the administration tries to give you confidence to get through this, and that's a big part of the administration's challenge is it as it has been at times in the past, overly optimistic, overly rosy in what it is telling us. I want to bring into the conversation Dr. Megan Ranney of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She's an emergency room physician on the frontlines of this.
Dr. Ranney, thank you. I'm grateful for you taking time away from care to help us understand this today. You listen there, the President and the Vice President talking about the ramping up of production of masks, saying that they were doing a much better job that these were getting this desperately needed protective gear was getting to the frontline. But you also know, the Centers of Disease Control put out new guidelines essentially saying recycle, reuse. And after you recycle and reuse if a mask still isn't good, get a bandana or find something like that. What is the truth on the frontlines?
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, LIFESPAN/BROWN UNIVERSITY: On the frontlines, people are terrified. Listen, I work at an unbelievable hospital system that has been preparing for this pandemic since the first reports came out of Wuhan, three months ago. But the truth is, we cannot get the masks and other protective gear that we need. My governor can't get them. My Department of Health can't get them.
We are being told by the CDC to reuse masks and normally, for every patient encounter, we would put a mask on and take a mask off to protect ourselves as well as our patients. And instead we're being told to reuse masks for days on end to try to preserve them. Docs across the country are starting to get sick. And docs and nurses are worried about what this means for us and for our patients.
KING: Doctor stay with us as well. I want to bring in Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast, Toluse Olorunnipa of The Washington Post, two of our Inside Politics mainstays in terms of the reporting on these big issues in Washington. Jackie, I'll start with you.
The President has said, at one point, we are not a shipping clerk. We are not a shipping clerk. Essentially saying, this is a responsibility of governors. If you need masks, if you need cloaks, if you need other protective gear for your doctors, that's your job, we'll try to back you up. If you need ventilators or respirators, that's your job, we'll try to back you up. There seem to be a concerted effort by the President of the United States to say, hey, we're here to help. But this is more your problem, governor.
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, right. And I'm sure the call he's going to be having with governors is going to be very interesting later. And you've heard governors expressed a lot of frustration about what the President has done and where he hasn't been able to help. But, you know, I think and there's this disconnect between, we're all in this together and go do it yourself. What we saw there was a President that really starting to get irritated with the questions about testing, with the questions about the economic, potential -- excuse me, consequences. And it didn't provide sort of the comfort that I think a lot of people needed when they tune into those press conferences every day.
KING: Right. The President was more testy today. And of course, he has been more in command I would say two days ago and more testy today.
KING: He's more political. Toluse, as you come into the conversation, the other thing the President kept talking about how surprised we were by this. And rightly so he was criticizing China, rightly so saying China was not honest upfront about this. China did not alert the world to this early enough. But the President also suggesting that, you know, this came out of the blue. The timeline just suggests otherwise in the sense that the first case was in December in China.
In January, the Chinese authority confirmed it was novel coronavirus. The United States had its first case at the end of January. When it comes to issues like the masks, issues like the supply chain, issues like these great waivers that may have been given to the FDA and the drug companies in recent days, it is a legitimate question to ask, you know, why wasn't that done a couple months ago?
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is exactly right. And blaming China is one thing it can be done at any point. But right now the focus has to be on sort of the response here in the U.S. and making sure that the country is able to respond and get control of this virus.
The President's bluster and his self-congratulatory praise for his own administration is not going to save lives, it's not going to help solve this problem, it's not going to get more masks to the people who need it, it's not going to stop this virus from spreading. So the President spent so much time congratulating himself and talking about how great of a job he did and also criticizing China. All of that is fine, but it's not going to actually help solve the problem right now, with this virus spreading more than 10,000 cases and spreading very rapidly.
It seems like much more focus needs to be on what exactly the administration can do to solve some of these problems, getting masks out there in a very large way to the people who need it, getting testing spreading more quickly around the country. Some of these issues were given short shrift during this press conference and the President talking about some of these drugs that haven't quite been proven or vetted in the case of the coronavirus.
It's not going to inspire a lot of confidence. I think the President wanted to have a major announcement. We saw that yesterday with the announcement of the Defense Production Act invoking that --