President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will be invoking the Defense Production Act, which allows a president to ramp up production of necessary supplies such as respirators and ventilators.
Trump, who referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus” at the beginning of his press announcement, also said FEMA has been activated across the U.S. at Level 1, the highest level. "This is a very different kind of work for FEMA, but they will come through,” Trump said.
The President also announced that two hospital ships are in the process of being prepared, and will be launched in the next week or so “depending on need.” One ship will head to New York City and the other will go to a yet-to-be-determined location in California. The ships have been named The Mercy and The Comfort.
Trump introduced the idea of a self-swab test for the coronavirus, but didn’t provide many details on when or where that would become available. “We’re going to see if we can do a self-swab,” he said.
The President also announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending all foreclosures and evictions through the end of April, in the hopes of providing relief to Americans who have lost their incomes from the coronavirus outbreak.
Finally, Trump previewed a big announcement to come regarding the FDA, and said he will be giving another press conference either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. Earlier on Wednesday, Trump also tweeted a preview of this news: “I will be having a news conference today to discuss very important news from the FDA…” he wrote.
Globally, cases of the coronavirus have surpassed 200,000. In the U.S., there are over 7,000 cases with more than 115 deaths. New York State, which is quickly becoming an epicenter of the virus, is seeing a daily increase in cases of about 35 percent. According to The New York Times, if that rate stays consistent over the next two weeks, it would yield more than 90,000 cases in New York State alone.
Earlier Wednesday, and in a bilateral decision, the U.S. and Canada agreed to close their borders to nonessential traffic. Trump indicated that the border closure will not impact trade between the two countries.
Cities and states across the U.S. are implementing strict measures to ensure that people are staying indoors and adhering to social distancing guidelines. This is in an effort to “flatten the curve” so that health care systems don’t get overwhelmed as coronavirus cases spike, which health experts say they are sure to do in the coming weeks.
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