President Trump does not think a national lockdown order is needed as the US continues to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump’s remarks Friday afternoon come after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 100% of non-essential workers should stay home.
“I don’t think so,” Trump said when asked about the need for a national lockdown. “Essentially you’ve done that California and New York have done that. I don’t think so. Because you go out to the midwest and other locations and they’re watching their television but they don’t have the same problems.”
Trump added: “We are working with the governors and I don’t think we’ll ever find it necessary.”
Trump now says federal government will send “millions of masks” to states
Just one day after putting the responsibility on the states to get their own supplies, President Trump appears to now be saying the federal government is going to help states get crucial medical supplies.
“We have millions of masks which are coming which are distributed to the states. The states are having a hard time getting them,” Trump said.
On the medical supplies, he added: “They’ll be here soon and we’ll ship them directly to states.”
More context: Yesterday at the daily coronavirus task force news conference, Trump said, “The governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work and they are doing a lot of this work” to get medical supplies. He continued, “The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”
Trump says he kicked use of Defense Production Act “into gear”
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
President Trump said he kicked his usage of the Defense Production Act “into gear” on Thursday evening after saying he would only invoke the measure in a worst case scenario.
Trump told reporters he’d moved the National Response Coordination Center — an office within the Federal Emergency Management Agency — into the “highest level of activation.”
“We are helping the states a lot,” Trump said during the daily coronavirus briefing.
More on this: There remains some confusion around Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act, which he signed on Wednesday but later said he wasn’t yet invoking despite shortages of medical gear and equipment.
On Thursday, Trump said it was the responsibility of individual governors to ensure their states have sufficient levels of supplies.
The DPA allows the federal government to direct industries to produce necessary equipment, but it remains unclear whether Trump has provided that direction yet.
Vice President Pence says more masks and ventilators coming
From CNN’s Sarah Westwood
Vice President Mike Pence discussed the administration’s efforts to secure more masks for health care workers as well as more ventilators for sick Americans who may need treatment.
“We continue at the President’s direction to pursue every means to expand the supply of personal protective equipment,” Pence said.
“We have a policy of procuring, allocating — as well as conserving — the resources that we have in our system,” he said.
Pence teased a “a major procurement from the federal government of N95 masks” coming over the weekend.
He also highlighted “new alternatives to increase the supply of ventilators” in the US amid fears that the health care system does not have enough to keep alive the number of Americans likely to become seriously ill at the height of an outbreak.
Pence said part of those efforts involve a push to “free up other ventilators” in use in the system.
“We’ve literally identified tens of thousands of existing ventilators that can be retrofitted and converted” to help coronavirus patients Pence said.
As part of the concerns about insufficient ventilators, Pence said “we want to continue to urge every American… postpone elective medical procedures.”