President Trump on Friday declared a “national emergency” with regard to the battle against the coronavirus. The declaration allows for $50 billion in emergency funding to states, lifts restrictions on doctors and hospitals, and waives interest on student loans, among other things.
He also promised that a half million virus testing kits would become available next week, but urged people not to panic. “We don’t want everybody taking this test,” he said, “It’s totally unnecessary.”
Trump was joined at the press conference by representatives of major corporate entities participating in the effort, including Target, Walgreens, Quest Diagnostics and CVS Health.
The president also announced that the administration was working with Google to implement a new website (hopefully ready in a couple days) where any individual can go and determine whether they need a test. The website’s purpose is to keep the nation’s health system from being overwhelmed by people who are ill but not with the coronavirus.
The stock market surged late Friday afternoon during the press conference. The Dow gained nearly 2000 points in the day’s trading. During the press conference today, the president also announced the U.S. would be buying oil on the international market and would add it to the nation’s strategic reserves. The price of oil is low right now due to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The announcement buoyed U.S. energy stocks which had fallen recently due to the uncertainty in the energy sector. Filling up the nation’s reserves also serves as a hedge – for the economy – against the uncertainties created by a lengthy battle against the virus.
Alex Azar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also attended the news conference. His department will be granted broad authority by the emergency declaration to waive various laws and regulations related to hospital operations. It has been reported that Seattle’s efforts to test possible victims of the virus there were hindered by laws and regulations regarding patient privacy and required government approvals.
Trump also encouraged Americans to look ahead to the day the crisis passes. “This will pass…It’s going to pass through…and we’ll be all the stronger for it.”
Please continue to pray for the defeat of this virus, and for wisdom on the part of the experts trying to get an understanding of what needs to be done.