President Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in the United States on Friday, but he also demonstrated to Americans that both the government and private industry are engaged to help fight the coronavirus.
The president detailed what Vice President Mike Pence has described this week as a “whole of America approach” to fighting the virus, using the best of public and private resources to reduce its spread in the United States
The State of Emergency declaration opens up $50 billion in funding for the president, which he detailed in a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Trump urged every state to set up emergency operations centers.
“You’re going to be hearing from some of the largest companies and greatest retailers and medical companies in the world,” he said, as top executives from health care companies and medical labs stood with the president.
The president focused primarily on increasing the number of testing kits available for sick patients who needed to be diagnosed for the virus.
Executives from Walmart, CVS, Target, and Walgreens promised to work with the president to increase testing levels and care for individuals.
“The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car,” he said.
Doug McMillon from Walmart said that the company was “eager” to assist the president.
“Given what we’re facing, that’s certainly important to do,” he said. “We should all be doing that.”
Brian Cornell of Target acknowledged that the CEOs present were typically competitors in the medical and supply industry.
“Normally, you’d view us as competitors, but today we’re focused on a common competitor, and that’s defeating the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
The president highlighted efforts from companies Roche and Thermo Risher, as well as LabCorp and Quest, to speedily produce tests and promised that the government would quickly approve them for production.
Trump also thanked Google for using its resources and 1,700 engineers to create a website that would help sick Americans locate a testing site.
“It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” Trump said.
The president also spoke about using his authority to clear the red tape of regulations that might hinder hospitals, doctors, and nursing homes to allow them to properly treat patients infected with the virus.
“We’ll remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need and that they’re entitled to,” he said. “No resource will be spared. Nothing whatsoever.”
During his press conference, he ceded his powerful podium to government medical professionals including Dr. Deborah Birx, who is helping the vice president lead the task force and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Birx said that the team had accomplished a great deal behind the scenes in the past weeks, acknowledging that it was “invisible” to the press.
“[T]his intense effort has not only resulted in innovative solutions but an automated high-throughput system, bringing the availability of these quality coronaviral testing to the American people at unprecedented speed,” she said.
Fauci praised Trump’s declaration for allowing everyone to act as quickly and efficiently as possible to fight the virus.
“We still have a long way to go. There will be many more cases, but we’ll take care of that,” he said. “And ultimately, as the President said, this will end.”