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Coverage of White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing; New Federal Coronavirus Guidelines Issued; Trump Announces New Guidelines To Reopen Economy In Three Phases. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired April 16, 2020 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're told Mr. Trump previewed his plan for the nation's governors just a few hours ago, assuring them they will call the shots when it comes to reopening their states, despite his previous claim that he had what he called total authority.
The president's plan says states should be able to set up safe and efficient coronavirus testing sites before reopening. In phase one, schools would remained closed, but some bars and gyms could reopen under what are called strict social distancing guidelines.
All this comes as the pandemic is taking a truly devastating toll on this nation, with more than 31,000 confirmed deaths and a record 22 million first-time unemployment claims filed since mid-March, only in the past four weeks.
Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Jim, as we wait to hear from the president and the others, what more are you learning right now about the new guidelines for reopening the country?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, first off, this is a total reversal from the president.
Three days ago, he was saying the president of the United States calls the shots. As you were saying a few moments ago, on a conference call with some of the nation's governors earlier today, the president was telling the governors, you are calling the shots.
I talked to a senior White House official just a short while ago who said these new guidelines that I'm going to run through here in just a second are essentially that, guidelines. They're guidance to the governors, who will ultimately make these decisions on the ground in their respective states.
Let's run through these phases.
First of all, Wolf, we should point out, we all start before phase one. And to make it into phase one, you have to meet certain gating criteria, as the administration calls it. But if you make it into phase one, this is what will happen in your state. Vulnerable individuals will shelter in place. In terms of the workplace, people continue to be urged to telework and return to work in phases. Not everybody will go back to work at once.
Schools that are closed would remain closed, and social gatherings, none larger than 10 people. So, if you are in a state that is phase one, you can start to gather in small groups, but not larger than 10 people.
Nonessential travel, that should be minimized. But get this, Wolf. In phase one states, big venues -- let's run through this -- restaurants, gyms, they could open with strict social distance protocols, but bars would remain closed. Obviously, bars, where lots of young people are gathering in tight spaces, that would be off-limits in a phase one state.
Now, if you move to phase two, things start to loosen up. Vulnerable individuals, they will continue to shelter in place. But at the workplace, you will continue to urge some teleworking, but some will go back to work in phases. Schools would open up, though. That's one of the big changes if you're in a phase two state.
Social gatherings, more than 50 people, that should be avoided. But you will get the sense here, Wolf, if you're in a phase two state, you can start having dinner parties, having parties at home and so on.
Nonessential travel could resume in a phase two state. Presumably, that means you could go on vacation or take a trip with your family. Big venues, restaurants, bars, gyms, all would be allowed to be open with social distancing protocols. So, if you're social distancing, presumably, in a phase two state, you could go to the bar, restaurant, gym and so on.
Phase three, this is going to sound like a mirage for many Americans who are longing for things to get back to normal. Vulnerable individuals, they would be able to interact in public, but they would be encouraged to continue to social distance.
In the workplace, there would be no restrictions on going back to work. Big venues, yes, restaurants, gyms, bars, they would remain open with limited physical distancing and sanitation protocols.
Wolf, one thing we should point out is that this is all going to be up to the governors. This is not something that's being mandated by the White House at this point. As this official was telling me earlier today, these are guidelines. This is guidance to the states we will be hearing about from the president and other administration officials shortly.
BLITZER: What criteria, Jim, do states have to meet? What are the criteria they must meet before they can move from phase one to phase two to phase three?
ACOSTA: Yes. Right.
What states are going to have to show to move from phase one to phase two is a reduction in cases, a decrease in cases over a 14-day period. So, to get into phase one, you have to show a sustained decrease in cases over a 14-day period.
Your hospitals have to return to pre-crisis conditions. That is going to be something that a lot of states may be able to do in the coming weeks. So, that is encouraging.
To get to phase two, those states or regions would have to have no evidence of a rebound, and then be able to meet that same kind of gating criteria, have a reduction in cases, keep moving in the right direction, trending in the right direction.
In terms of phase three, that would be for states and regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria for a third time, again, trending in the right direction in terms of a reduction in cases, hospitals, and those kinds of places being back at almost normal capacities.
One thing that we should point out, Wolf, when you go through these guidelines that have been put out by the administration, it makes it very, very clear, not only is this up to the governors, but the governors are going to be in charge of the testing in their individual states.
So, really, the governors are going to be making these determinations on how to move from phase one to phase two to phase three. And that is going to be determined by how testing is going in those states.
You heard the president earlier this week saying he doesn't want to be in charge of running a parking lot where testing is going on in Arkansas and so on. He wants governors in those individual states to take control that.
And I think that's the reason why, Wolf, you're seeing the president back away so strongly from this position that he took earlier this week, when he said he had total authority, he was saying. He was saying, the president calls the shots.
You can't really call the shots in states where the federal government is not going to take responsibility for the testing. That is a big reason why -- Wolf, why the president the administration is moving to giving this off to the states, putting them in charge, letting them make these decisions on the ground,, Wolf.
BLITZER: I see in the shot from the Briefing Room, Jim, that Dr. Deborah Birx, she's out there already on the stage.
If we get a wide shot, we could show that. Some of the other experts are sitting. Dr. Fauci is sitting on the sidelines over there. Once again, you see the reporters. They are separated, social distancing in the Briefing Room.
Usually, Jim, it's a sign, once these people walk out, that it'll be another minute or two or three before the president and the vice president walk out.
We are expecting, Jim, the president to open with a formal statement outlining what he's calling these guidelines for opening up America.
BLITZER: Again, we have got the document that was made available to the governors a couple hours ago.
ACOSTA: That's right, Wolf.
And I think there are some key questions that need to be asked.
One is, how bound are governors to these guidelines? The administration can put out these guidelines, but, at the end of the day, if they're leaving it up to these individual states, the states, I suppose, can take the lead and determine, OK, we have reached a certain point in terms of testing and so on, and move on to the next...
BLITZER: All right, hold on a second, Jim.
All right, as we -- as we suspected, here's the president.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
Our nation is engaged in a historic battle against the invisible enemy. To win this fight, we have undertaken the greatest national mobilization since World War II. And that's exactly what it's been.
We have marshaled every instrument of American power, and we have unleashed our most important weapon of all, the courage of the American people.
These have been trying times. A cruel virus from a distant land has unfairly claimed thousands of precious American lives. To every citizen who has lost a cherished loved one, your pain is our pain. We mourn as one national family.
Our country has come together. We draw solace from the faith that God has received and the departed -- he has taken the departed into his eternal and loving embrace. They will never be forgotten.
Over the last weeks and months, millions of Americans have joined together in a shared national sacrifice to halt the spread of this horrible disease. The Army built field hospitals in sports arenas and Convention Centers. The Army Corps of Engineers is great, over 20,000 beds in record time.
The Navy sailed hospital ships to our biggest cities. Lifesaving supplies and experimental medicines were rushed to the front lines, as we launched a rapid search for groundbreaking treatments and vaccines.
We built the most advanced and robust testing anywhere in the world, and we have done more testing than any country anywhere in the world. We suspended dangerous foreign travel. We leveraged our industrial base to produce vast quantities of critical medical gear and enacted a historic $2 trillion relief package.
Through it all, we have seen the heroism of our doctors and nurses like never before. These are our warriors. The bravery of our truck drivers, such bravery, and food suppliers, such incredible bravery, and the determination and drive of our citizens, through this unified national endeavor, we have made great progress. You could really say incredible progress.
Our experts and scientists report that our strategy to slow the spread has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Models predicted between 1.5 million and 2.2 million U.S. deaths. If there was no mitigation, it could have been even higher than that, and between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths with mitigation.
It's looking like we will come far under even these lowest numbers. Thanks to our all-out military operation and the extraordinary devotion of our people, we believe we will experience far fewer deaths than even the optimistic projection.
But there is no such thing as an optimistic projection on death. One person is too many.
Our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak in new cases is behind us. Nationwide, more than 850 counties, or nearly 30 percent of our country, have reported no new cases in the last seven days.
Because of our early and aggressive action, we have avoided the tragedy of health care rationing and deadly shortfalls that have befallen many other nations, nations which, wherever possible, we are helping.
In America, no person who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. We're making hundreds of thousands of ventilators. We have delivered thousands and thousands of ventilators to the states. And, actually, it's been an incredible operation.
We started with very little, and we ended with a lot.
The United States has achieved a significant lower mortality rate than almost all other countries. Based on the latest data, our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war, which we are calling opening up America again.
And that's what we're doing. We're opening up our country. And we have to do that. America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open.
As I have said for some time now, a national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution. To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy. Over the long haul, you can't do one without the other. It cannot be done.
To keep vital supply chains running, these chains have to be taken care of so delicately. They're delicate. The balance is delicate. We want to deliver food and medical supply. We must have a working economy. And we want to get it back very, very quickly.
And that's what's going to happen. I believe it will boom.
A prolonged lockdown, combined with a forced economic depression, would inflict an immense and wide-ranging toll on public health. This includes a sharp rise in drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide, heart disease, and many other dimensions of physical and mental well-being.
Moreover, many patients have put needed medical care on hold, creating entirely new hazards for public health. Our country has suffered. The world has suffered; 184 other countries have suffered.
Therefore, my administration is issuing new federal guidelines that will allow governors to take a phased and deliberate approach to reopening their individual states. I have dealt with them now a long time, and we have had a great relationship. Democrat, Republican, the relationship has been good.
This strategy is based on hard, verifiable data.
I want to thank Dr. Birx for her incredible leadership in crafting these guidelines, in consultation with scientists, experts, and medical professionals across government.
Dr. Birx will explain the guidelines in more detail in a few moments. And Dr. Fauci has been absolutely terrific. We have all worked together, and we have worked together well. They are interested in the health of our country. And we're all interested in the viability and making us truly great again.
We took the greatest economy in the history of the world, and we closed it in order to win this war. And we're in the process of winning it now.
Our approach outlines three phases in restoring our economic life. We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time. And some states will be able to open up sooner than others. Some states are not in the kind of trouble that others are in.
Now that we have passed the peak in new cases, we are starting our life again. We're starting rejuvenation of our economy again in a safe and structured and very responsible fashion.
Our strategy will continue to protect senior citizens and other vulnerable populations, while allowing military and other groups of incredibly talented people to go about their real business and the business that's supposed to be hard at work at doing, and nobody does it better. Our military is the greatest anywhere in the world. And we're so thankful for what they have done.
Healthy Americans will now be able to return to work as conditions on the ground allow. Instead of a blanket shutdown, we will pursue a focus on sheltering the highest-risk individuals. So important. We're establishing clear scientific metric and benchmarks on testing,
new case growth, and hospital capacity that must be met before advancing to each phase. And that's each phase, specifically, in the reopening of our country.
This is a gradual process. As the caseload in a state continues to go down, restrictions can continue to be eased and come off. Throughout the process, citizens will be continue to be called upon to use all of their weapons in this war, vigorous hygiene, teleworking when possible, staying at home if you feel sick, maintaining social distance, sanitizing commonly used surfaces, and being highly conscious of their surroundings.
Those are our weapons. And they're very powerful weapons, indeed.
Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that meets the diverse circumstances of their own states. Every state is very different. They're all beautiful. We love them all. But they're very, very different.
If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that. And if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task, and very, very quickly, depending on what they want to do.
We are also encouraging states to work together to harmonize their regional efforts. We will have numerous cases where states have worked and will be working very, very closely together.
As we reopen, we know that there will be continued hardships and challenges ahead. Our goal will be to quickly identify and address any outbreaks and put them out rapidly.
If the virus returns in the fall, as some scientists think it may, possibly, these guidelines will ensure that our country is up and running, so that we can likewise put it out quickly.
At the heart of our strategy is the vital role of medical research, especially for therapies that will significantly improve outcomes for high-risk patients and reduce the need for urgent care. This will be tremendously valuable in allowing life to eventually return to normal.
At least 35 clinical trials are already under way, including antiviral therapies, immune therapies, and blood therapies in the form of convalescent plasma. You have all heard about some of these events and some of these therapies. They have come a long way. What's been done in the last four weeks is incredible.
We will also continue to expand our testing capacity. We have now completed more than 3.5 million tests, by far the most anywhere in the world.
Areas of our country that have been hot spots have done much more testing on a per capita basis than South Korea. We have done more than South Korea. And South Korea has done a good job, but we have done more.
We will continue to work with governors to advise them on how to conduct both surveillance and diagnostic testing. We have now distributed over 600,000 Abbott ID NOW point-of-care diagnostic tests. These are tests that are done on site, and, within five minutes, you know the answer, positive or negative.
In recent days, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of tests performed by hospitals and academic institutions, with more than 120,000 tests recently reported in a single day, far more than any country in the world has ever been able to do. And our numbers are actually going up.
As these new and better testing solutions come online, we're seeing this additional capacity reflected in the numbers. For this reason, the number of tests processed in commercial laboratories has dropped from approximately 100,000 to roughly 75,000 tests over the last week.
The reason it dropped is because we have so many other tests, and we don't even have to go through the laboratories. But the laboratories have tremendous additional capacity, and states feel free to use that capacity.
Some in the media falsely reported this as a bad thing, when, in fact, it is a great thing, because it indicates that the states are moving to faster, more local testing solutions, including on-the-spot tests.
So, this drop in the utilization of commercial laboratories is an affirmation that testing, which is at an all-time high, is growing at a historic rate. In other words, the laboratories are great, but now we have forms of testing that are much quicker, much better, and we don't have to use the laboratories, but they're there, and they have a great capacity to do the work.
As Dr. Birx has been advising our governors for weeks, we continue to have an excess testing capacity of one million tests per week available for use, and our capabilities are growing every single day, especially with the new tests that are coming on to the market rapidly.
As we begin a science-based reopening, we must be extra vigilant in blocking the foreign entry of the virus from abroad. Border control, travel restrictions and other limitations on entry are more important than ever to keep the virus in check and allow Americans to get back to work.
The sacrifices our citizens have made in this time of crisis will be remembered, studied, honored, and praised for generations to come. We're really all working together, Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal. We're all working together. This is not about parties. This is about our country.
Now the American people are ready to rise to the occasion once again. They're ready to show the world once more that Americans can defeat any challenger. Together, we will rebuild this land that we love. We will reclaim the
magnificent destiny that we share, and we will carry our nation forward to new heights of greatness and glory.
I would now like to ask Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Birx to further explain the new guidelines.
I want to thank Dr. Birx. I want to thank Dr. Fauci. And I want to thank really, especially, a man who has devoted 24 hours a day to his task force, and done such an incredible job, our great vice president, Mike Pence.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. President.
The members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force today joined the president to meet with a bipartisan group of members of the House and of the Senate to get their counsel on the development of what the president unveiled to America's governors this afternoon.
The new guidelines for opening up America again are a product of the best science and the best common sense that the president has marshaled on this team and from a broad range of advisers from all across the nation.
From the moment President Trump established the White House Coronavirus Task Force, early on, he made it clear that -- that we have no higher priority than the health and safety of the American people.
The president launched a whole-of-government approach.
And while we stand here on this day with more than 640,000 Americans having contracted the coronavirus, and our hearts go out to the families of the more than 31,000 Americans who lost their lives and those who continue to struggle with serious consequences of the coronavirus, the truth is that, because of the decisive action that our president took early on, suspending travel from China and thereafter from portions of Europe and South Korea, screening passengers, because of the strong actions, in partnership with every governor across America, because of the extraordinary efforts of America's health care workers on the front lines, and because of the cooperation of the American people, and God's grace, we are slowing the spread.
We are flattening the curve. We have preserved the capacity of our health care system, and we have protected the most vulnerable.
In a word, because of the actions of this president, this administration, governors at every level, our health care workers, and our fellow Americans, we saved lives.
And every American should be comforted by that.
And we can see it in the numbers. In the charts that I will present today, these three maps track influenza-like illness, which, in this instance, is mostly coronavirus across America.
The first map reflects the total number of cases on the week ending March the 28th. The next map reflects our data about the total number of cases on the week ending April 4. And we stand here today with the final map reflecting the total number of cases across America as of April the 11th.
With these trends under way, President Trump tasked the White House Coronavirus Task Force to develop new guidelines for opening up America again. Those guidelines were presented today first to our nation's governors.
And it is our intention, at the president's direction, to provide these guidelines to assist governors and state health officials in evaluating the most responsible manner to reopen the economies of their states at a time and manner of their choosing.
The guidelines, as Americans who are looking on will note, begin with what is the best criteria that our experts have developed, a downward trajectory in cases over a 14-day period of time, ensuring that states have proper capacity in their health care facilities.
The second set of proposals includes a description of recommendations for state preparedness.
And let me say to the American people what President Trump made clear to our governors today, that our administration will continue to work day in and day out, through our task force, through FEMA, to ensure that our states have not only the medical supplies, but that we continue to rapidly expand testing across the nation.
The president reflected on the progress we have made on testing, but a few statistics for that as well, which I hope are an encouragement to the American people.
On March 11, we had performed a total of 23,588 tests. Because of the public-private partnership that President Trump initiated with commercial labs across the country, that number was 83,500 by March 18. And, as the president just said, that number is 3.5 million today.
It is our expectation that we will have tested more than five million Americans before the end of the month of April. And we will continue to scale those resources.
So, testing and medical supplies will continue to be an ongoing partnership with our states. And we want our health care workers and people all across the country to know of our commitment to that.
Finally, the president directed us to propose a phased approach to reopening, to reopening our economy. It is based on up-to-date data and readiness. And we will continue to provide the very best data to our states, working with their health officials. The focus is on the mitigation of any risk of resurgence or the
emergence of the coronavirus in states where it's not yet emerged.
There is a focus in the president's new guidelines on the most vulnerable. and it's -- we made this very clear to the governors today, these new guidelines for opening up America again can be implemented on a statewide basis or on a county by county basis.
With that, I am happy to turn it over to Dr. Deborah Birx. And if I may, Mr. President, I would like to also extend my admiration and appreciation to Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci and every member of our task force that worked around the clock to develop these recommendations for opening America. I know every American is grateful for your leadership and for theirs. Deborah?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Thank you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President. We're going to go through this quickly, because I know you have them and many of you already have already spoken to them on television.
Next slide please?
This is a very important slide. It talks about the gatekeeping on the the gatekeeping criteria to moving into phase one. It's very much related to what you just saw about influenza-like illness. And the United States has been tracking influenza-like illnesses through the Centers of Disease Control for years.
Both the state and public health officials are used to watching this, county health officials are used to watching it, and, frankly, every family around the United States knows how to access this on the CDC website in order to get up-to-date information to the communities.
It also looks at syndromic emergency room-type visits, again, housed at CDC and really is our surveillance program that can be utilized for a lot of illnesses, but in this case, will be utilized for respiratory diseases.
In addition, we are tracking the number of cases and it must have a downward trajectory for 14 days, as well as the influenza-like illness and the syndromic illnesses and a downward trajectory in the number of positive test, with persistence of high levels of testing.
For the hospitals, it's to ensure that we can treat all patients without resorting to any crisis care and ensuring that there is a robust testing program in place for at risk healthcare workers including frontline responders with the emerging antibody test.
And just to show you what this looks like. So what the CDC did for me, under the direction of Bob Redfield, was to chart what the syndromic illnesses we're reporting throughout the early part of March. And you can see in New Orleans respiratory diseases were starting to be seen in the emergency room. That is the red line. The cases are shown in the dark blue line. The gray mountain is testing and underneath that is the blue mountain are positives. And you can see that the early alert was present from the emergency room about early respiratory disease. You can see a predated the cases.
So throughout the summer, when we do have flu to contaminate this picture, we will be able to follow this syndromic pattern city by city, county by county, community by community, state by state.
In addition, the CDC has the influenza-like illness in that, distributed throughout the United States, very useful in the wintertime. At first peak is influenza B in the red. That's this season. I showed you all of the seasons here, so you could see the seasons as they are displayed. The first peak is influenza B, second peak, influenza A. And then you can see the coronavirus and you can see its decline, and it's declining towards baseline. This will allow us again, city by city, community by community, state by state, to look for variations in an early response mode in those localities that I described.
So, hopefully, you see that we brought CDC and their amazing talent of individuals at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and all of their abilities to this response and also to the surveillance that we need in this response.
But I want to call your attention to the third bullet on this graphic. So we're tracking those two pieces that I described. But the third bullet is about setting up sentinel surveillance sites to be able to distinguish and find asymptomatic individuals, individuals that you have heard about that may be either pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic throughout their entire disease course. We want to be able to find them in communities of particular vulnerability.
So we'll be doing sentinel surveillance throughout nursing homes, throughout inner city federal clinics, throughout indigenous populations to really be able to find early alerts of asymptomatic individuals in the community.
And both for the syndromic that are tested, the influenza-like cases and the asymptomatic cases doing contact tracing, again, with support from Center for Disease Control, working with each state and local government.
In addition, we want to make sure that all the healthcare facilities have adequate personal protective devices and the equipment to handle the surge and to ensure the ICUs can handle increased capacity. We want every state to have a plan, for the health and safety of its workers in critical industries and to protect the health and safeties of those living in high risk facilities, including senior care facilities as we discussed with sentinel surveillance, but also additional surveillance.
When we talked with all of the states that did not have a major metro outbreak, their sentinel surveillances picked up always the first cases in nursing homes. And so this is a very much a big focus of the plan moving forward.
I won't go into the rest of the details on the slide but there is quite a bit of details on the expectations of every state and local government.
You will recognize this slide. It's -- next slide please.
You recognized the slide is what we have been talking about in the 15 and 30 days to prevent the spread. It's continuing those in critical handwashing or sanitizers, not -- avoiding touching your face at all times, disinfecting surfaces, using face covering while in public, following state and local guidelines and critically staying home if you are sick.
I know a lot of people go to the workplace when they are feeling ill. You know when you're feeling ill. It won't get better by going to work. So we're asking again for people to stay home when their sick.
Next slide is for employers. To ensure that there can be social distancing and a protective equipment, temperature checks, use of disinfectant in high traffic areas including break rooms and assuring that we don't do -- there is no non-essential business travel and then monitoring for any symptomatic individuals in the workplace, and, again, if you can become ill at work, to immediately to go home and ensure that there is contact tracing of all the individuals that become sick.
I'm going to go through the phases very quickly but you have the details. Phase one, again, you have to go through those gating criteria related to have 14 days of decreasing evidence of illness and decreasing testing despite adequate testing.
So phase one begins with all vulnerable individuals including those with comorbidities continuing to shelter in place and ensuring that those at first go out into the public are not those that are the most vulnerable to bad outcomes in this disease. And then ensuring that we continue to do six feet maximum physical distancing in public places, continuing to avoid large gathering and all non-essential travel.
For the employers, next slide, again, if a vulnerable population needs to return to work and cannot be teleworking, there should be special accommodations for all vulnerable populations as well as options for teleworking.
We believe every employee should encourage work return in phases from 20 percent or 25 percent to 40 percent to 50 percent and, again, minimize all nonessential travel.
Phase one, continue, next slide, if the schools are already closed, they should remain closed. All visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should continue to be prohibited. Large venues, including sit down dining, can only be operated under strict physical distancing protocols and maintaining those six feet. Gyms could open if they, again, could adhere to strict physical distancing and elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient basis.
Phase two, next slide. Again, you have to go through the criteria again of a continuation of another 14-day decline. Among those criteria that we are in the gating. Again, we're asking for all vulnerable individuals shelter in place.
We did not put a timeline on any of the phases. We want governors with the data that they have community by community to be setting up those timelines. Again, we're asking for the public to continue to maximize physical distance, however, we increased social settings to be able to now have 50 individuals and non-essential travel can resume.
This is for the employers. We still would like to encourage telework and that common areas should remain closed or be physically distant. All non-essential travel for employees can resume and then, again, special accommodations for vulnerable.
This should be a relief to many of households that have small children. Schools, daycares and camps can reopen in phase two. Visits to senior living facilities, however, should remain and hospitals prohibited. Large venues can operate but certainly under moderate physical distancing and elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient and inpatient bases.
Phase three. And so phase three I won't go through in detail. This is essentially returning to our new normal with all of what we talked about through all phases, continuing the good hygiene practices, continuing the respect for spaces between individuals because we know that we still have an issue with asymptomatic spread.
I do believe with this plan that we're both confronting the issue of finding symptomatic individuals through our networks with early alert as well as those who come and present to different hospitals and emergency room with testing and contact tracing, but critically have put in place what we believe is a safety net through asymptomatic sentinel surveillance that is centered around our most vulnerable groups between nursing homes and native American people and indigenous populations and our inner city group that we know maybe a multi- generational households and of unique risk.
I'll stop there, Mr. President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, please, next. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Thank you very much, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President.
So as you have seen just now from the detailed presentation from Dr. Birx, this is a rather robust program for re-entering into normality. There is a lot of details here. And I know it will take a little bit time to digest them all.
So what I thought it would be good, since I want to be brief to allow time for questions, is to kind to take as back to discussions that we've had here before and why this is a natural evolution from what we had said before.
You might recall that on few occasions when I was up here before you, I told you that when we get to the point where we are going to take those steps towards trying to get back to some form of normality, that it would not be a light switch that you could turn on and off.
I meant that in two different components. But first of all, that we are a very large country and we have different dynamics in the country. We have areas of the country that have gone through a terrible ordeal and others that, fortunately, have gone and gotten through this rather lightly. So that's the first thing.
The second thing is that light switch on and off is the exact opposite of what you see here, which is a gradual gradation with the first thing and the only thing in mind is the health people here, my colleagues, who are either physicians, scientists or public health issues, that predominant and completely driving element that we put into this was the safety and health of the American public.
And I know there are a lot of other considerations that go into opening, considerations that you've heard of right from this podium when we were talking about the first 15 days of the mitigation and then we extended it another 30 days, I essentially pleaded with the American public to say let us make sure we do the best that we can to accomplish that.
And, in fact, mitigation works. You saw the charts that the vice president and that Dr. Birx put up. It worked.
And what we hope and I believe we will be successful if we carefully do this again with the attention to the safety and health of the American public, that will be to -- it will be staggered. Not every state or region is going to do it at the same time. That's clearly obvious because of the dynamics of the outbreak.
But we feel confident that sooner or later, we will get to the point -- hopefully sooner -- with safety as the most important thing to a point where we can get back to some form of normality. The one thing that I like about it that Dr. Birx said so well, is that no matter what phase you're in, there are certain things that we've done that are not like it was in September and October. You want to call it the new normal, you can call it whatever you want, but even if you are in phase one, two or three, it's not OK, game over. It's not.
It's going to be a way that we protect ourselves, because as we know and as I said from this podium, it may very well be as we go the cycle around that there will be this virus that wants to come back to us. I think we're going to be able to handle that. Thank you.
REPORTER: Dr. Fauci, I assume that there is also a phase four, which is after the vaccine is developed and available to everybody. The question on phase three being the new normal, are we during that phase going to be able to see things like packed arenas or sporting events, large crowds, concerts?
FAUCI: The answer is, it is conceivable that we will be able to do that. I think there will always have to be attention to making sure that we don't do all that packing together.
I think we'll be able to have sports events in that phase where you actually have participants there. I'm not sure you are going to be able to do that uniformly and evenly temporarily with everyone, but when people get to that phase, paying attention to the fact that if there is a rebound of any sort that when you are in that phase, you can respond to that or you put it back and go the other way.
So, the flexibility is that there may be some setbacks. I mean, let's face it, this is uncharted border. There may be some setbacks and we may have to pull back a little and go forward.
But, Jon, the direct answer to your question is, I do see is getting more towards normal.
REPORTER: Mr. President -- Mr. President, if you take a look at the gating criteria in these guidelines, there is at least a handful of states, I just look at the trend lines -- Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Montana, it looks like they've already satisfied that gating criteria.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right.
REPORTER: In your call with the governors this afternoon, did you hear back from the states who said, we're already there, we can start the process now?
TRUMP: I did. I from a number of governors that said they are in very good shape. I also heard -- not only from the gulf, but I heard from some of the governors previous, and I think you will have some very good things to report over the next few days about states opening up.
And I think, Jon, having to do with your call on sports, depending on the area, depending on where we're talking about, you are going to have large areas in our country where this has not been or has been totally eradicated, you'll be able to have those full arenas.
Now, with everything being said, a lot of great work has been done on vaccines but we have a testing process. Therapeutics, likewise, we have a lot of great things happening therapeutically, that will be a step further. But in terms of sports, they'll probably start off. As you know, I
spoke to the commissioners yesterday almost I guess of every sport and many of them are going to be starting without the fans. So it will be made for television, the good old days, made for television.
And it will go that way and then the fans will start coming in, maybe they will be separated by two seats and then ultimately, we want to have packed arenas. When the virus is gone, we're going to have packed arenas and we are going to go back to enjoying sports the way it's supposed to be, and the same thing can be said for restaurants.
So, at a certain point in time, when the virus is gone, we're going to be back to normal.
Please, go ahead.
REPORTER: Mr. President and the doctors, can you clarify then if the 30-day period to stop the spread, are those mitigation efforts still in place or have they been replaced by this new guidance?
TRUMP: Well, they're going to be in place to a large extent, and it also depends on the governors, what they want to do.
You have very different states -- if you look at Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, that's a lot different than New York, it's a lot different in New Jersey. So, it's going to be very dependent on the governor.
We are recommending, as you see in the charts, we're recommending certain things. They will be in place depending on what the governor wants to do. If we something wrong, we will be expressing ourselves very strongly.
REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President.
Does this mean that states such as Montana or Utah that have already met that gating period, will they be able to go to phase one as early as tomorrow, if the governor decides?
TRUMP: You're talking about those states that are in great shape already?
TRUMP: They will be able to go literally tomorrow. Yes, because they've met all of the guidelines. If you go back, you're going back 14 days, you're going back even a month, and they have -- the ones that I'm thinking about, the ones that I've already spoken to governors about, they've met those guidelines actually pretty long ago.
REPORTER: Mr. President, what would your message be to protesters in Michigan and other states that are saying that they are refusing to comply with the stay-at-home orders issued by governors and local officials? I mean, is it important for everybody to go along with this as we go through these phases?
TRUMP: Well, they have been going through it a long time, Jon, and it's been a tough process for people. You know, I told you this, there's death and there's problems in staying at home too. It's not just, isn't it wonderful to stay at home?
They're having -- they're suffering. This country wasn't built on that principle. It was built on the exact opposite principle actually.
And I watched in one particular state where they were -- they want to get back. They want to get back. There were very strict sanctions that were put on people, that was probably the most strict of all.
But I just think the American people have been incredible. When you look at -- Jon, when you look at what they've done, when you look at what they've been through, when you look at all of the death and all of the problems and all of the sickness, when you look at what's happened, I think the American people have been incredible.
REPORTER: Would you urge those protesters to listen to local authorities?
TRUMP: I think they're listening. I think they listen to me. They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion and my opinion is the same as just about all the governors. They all want to open. Nobody wants to say shut down, but they want to open safely, so do I.
But we have large sections of the country, right now, that can start thinking about opening. There'll be some mitigation and they'll keep it going for a period of time, including masks, by the way, in areas that you wouldn't even think.
I asked a question today, I said why would they wear masks in Wyoming or Montana or North Dakota? That if somebody should come in from an area that isn't so successful in terms of what they've done.
So, that will be a governor's choice and we'll have no problem with that.
REPORTER: Mr. President, you spoke this afternoon to the new congressional adviser groups, 32 bipartisan members of the House, 65 bipartisan members of the Senate. One of the big topics was the fact that Small Business Association loan part of $350 billion --
REPORTER: -- has hit the cap, it's exhausted.
There is nothing moving on the $250 million to replenish it. What did you tell those bipartisan groups today about getting the move on to get more money in the hands of small businesses?
TRUMP: Just for the viewers watching this and hearing you ask that question -- exhausted is a good thing, not a bad thing. It went quickly, it's so popular. The banks have been incredible, including 4,000 community banks, 4,000. Most people don't even know we had that many banks, 4,000.
TRUMP: What they want is people wanting to keep this going and we are doing this to keep the small businesses open and to keep the workers paid. And we have $250 billion requests. Democrats like it. The Republicans love it.
And to be honest, I think it's going -- something is going to be happening. I hope so, because this is a very popular program. It was really executed flawlessly.
The first day, they changed an application a little bit. There was -- but when you look at what Bank of America did and what Wells Fargo did and Citi and a lot of the banks, But when you ask when you look at all the community banks did, it's been really incredible.
Well, we're negotiating with Democrats and they should frankly approve it quickly. It's a great thing for our country. It's a great thing for small businesses and for the workers, and we're having a hard time getting them to approve it.
I think it's going to happen. It should happen really unanimously, but they are trying to get things and we're not too happy with what they are trying to get.
REPORTER: First, can you just say which states specifically you think have hit the gating requirements --
TRUMP: I rather not say that, but you'll be seeing a very soon. I'd rather have the governor be able -- the governors be able to announce, and they're very proud of it. They worked hard.
Some are in an area that's less susceptible and some really, I think, we can say through talent.
They really worked very hard. And, you know, we have some states that got too much credit for what they've done. Frankly, I could name you a couple of those too, and I could name you a couple of them and we have others that haven't been credit that have done a phenomenal job.
REPORTER: Part of the guidance seems to shift to states and companies, the burden now with just additional testing and surveillance, but also the sort of new normal in which, you know, there are smaller crowds in restaurants and bars and arenas.
TRUMP: Well, that's not going to be normal. There's not going to be a new normal where somebody has been having for 25 years, 158 seats in a restaurant and now he's got 30 or he's got 60 because that wouldn't work. That's not normal. No, normal will be that he has 158 or 68 seats. And that's going to
happen and it's going to happen relatively quickly, we hope. But that's our normal.
Our normal is if you have 100,000 people in an Alabama football game or 110,000 to be exact, we want to 110,000 people. We want every seat occupied. Normal is not going to be where you have a game with 50,000 people.
REPORTER: To that point, I mean, best-case scenario and states doing very well in a month, obviously for a lot of other states, it's going to be longer than that. My question is, what is the federal government going to do to sort of help, especially states and local governors in those positions, pay for what is now going to be an even longer stand in?
TRUMP: We're going to be watching over. We're going to see that everything is working out smoothly. We're in very strong communication with the governors.
We're going to be helping with testing. They are going to be the testing. It's got to be a localized thing. It really has been, since I've been involved, because I came in and federal governments are supposed to do testing of parking lots in the middle of a certain state that is 2,000 miles away. It's ridiculous.
But the testing has been so incredible. Two things, testing in ventilators. Ventilators are really tough. They are very complex. They are very expensive. They are very sophisticated machines. Some are unbelievably sophisticated.
Well, we built, you saw General Motors yesterday, thousands are being issued. We have 11 companies building them. We've had not one complaint in the last week and a half, which is surge time.
Don't forget, when they were calling, they were calling because in two weeks and four weeks and five weeks, they're going to need ventilators, not because they need them right now. And we were right on our counts.
And nobody that wanted a ventilator didn't get a ventilator. Plus, we have additional, if there is a surge, we hope there is not going to be a surge at all. But we are going to be able to build up the stockpile of states who didn't have them who should have them and we're also going to have a big stockpile in the federal government.
And we'll be able to help foreign countries, countries that need help because you have -- look, you have countries that will never be able to build a ventilator. It's tough stuff. We are uniquely talented in the sense that we can do things that nobody else can do.
We'll get right back to you, Jon.
Peter, in the back -- Peter.
REPORTER: Thanks. You said you are naming the states that might ready to go. Well, can
you give us some or maybe the experts, Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, give us how many yesterday, you said 29 shapes were in good shape, you think as many as 29?
TRUMP: Well, I think, yes, Peter, I think 29 states are in that ball game, not open -- not for opening, but I think they will be able to open relatively soon. I think the remainder are just getting better.
Look, New York, New Jersey are having very tough times. They will be there. They will be there at some point, but they are not going to be one of the earlier states, they are going to be later obviously.
I just spoke with the governor of New Jersey. We just spoke with Mike and a couple of folks, we had a great talk with him. Phil is a terrific guy, he's working very hard, Democrat, but we get along. He's working very, very hard.
I guess the fact that he is right next to this big massive city where everybody is very closely -- you know, together, and New Jersey has been hit unbelievably hard. As hard as -- as hard as anybody in the true sense, but they're doing a great job in New Jersey.
That doesn't mean, Peter, that doesn't mean that they are going to be opening next week. That's not one that is going to be. But we have a lot of states that through location, through luck and also through a lot of talent, we have states through a lot of talent are in a very good position and they're getting ready to open.
And over the next very short period of time, it's going to be up to the governors. We're going to work with them, we're going to help them, but it's going to be up to the governors. I think they're going to -- I think you're going to see quite a few states starting to open.
And I call it a beautiful puzzle. You have 50 pieces, all very different but when it's all done -- it's a mosaic. When it's all done, it's going to be, I think, a very beautiful picture.
And very important is what Dr. Fauci said. It could be that sometime in the fall, there'll be some flare-ups. We're going to be in a great position with everything we've done and everything we've learned. This was something nobody ever saw before. Such --