Coronavirus Pandemic: President Trump Declares National Emergency
U.S. president, Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in the country due to coronavirus.
President Donald Trump announced Friday he’s declaring a national emergency to deal with the coronavirus crisis as cases increase alarmingly and criticism mounts over how he’s responding to the situation, ABCNews report.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “To unleash the full power of the federal government, I am officially declaring a national emergency. Referring to that as “two very big words,” he said it would allow him to quickly get $50 billion to states, territories and localities “in our shared fight against this disease.”
With Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and other members of his coronavirus task force members standing behind him, Trump said, No resource will be spared — nothing whatsoever.”
It was also an effort to deal with the political fallout two days after a speech to nation Wednesday night that was seen as largely ineffective, leaving many confused and Wall street rattled.
“Declaring a national emergency does two things: it coveys to the public that the nation faces a serious crisis and that drastic action is necessary and it will immediately make available resources and other support that can be directed to protect communities across the nation,” former Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary John Cohen, now an ABC contributor, said.
“This is an important step that based on current conditions should surprise no one — the only surprise is that it wasn’t done sooner,”Cohen said.
The move “signals the administration is finally recognizing the significance of these circumstances and bringing to bear all available resources of the federal government to address it,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a point of delivering her own statement about an hour before the president was scheduled to speak. She said House Democrats would pass a package of measures “today” to address what she called a “long overdue response” to the crisis, saying the three most important parts deal would deal with “testing, testing, testing.”
Pelosi said the bill would ensure that free tests would be available for “everyone who needs a test,” saying a coordinated, nationwide approach was needed to “understand the scale and scope” of the problem so that there could be a “science-based response.”
The measure would also include paid sick and emergency leave, she said, as well as enhanced unemployment benefits to help families deal with the economic consequences.
The fast-moving developments came after the Trump administration moved Friday morning to appoint a point person for testing and announced expanded measures in what appears to be an acknowledgement of the lack of available testing and delays in processing the results.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has designated Adm. Brett Giroir to coordinate U.S. testing efforts as the cases of infected Americans grow exponentially. Under the HHS umbrella, the Food and Drug Administration is introducing an emergency hotline for private laboratories and providing new funding for partnerships with companies developing rapid tests that can detect the virus within an hour.
The announcement of the boost in testing comes as capacity has struggled to catch up with the demand nationally at public health labs. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the widely-respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the current system “a failing” on Capitol Hill Thursday even as Trump told reporters it’s been “going very smooth.”
The House is expected to vote on a stimulus plan Friday to offset the economic fallout to everyday Americans from the outbreak, pending a deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — the administration’s point person on negotiations.