Trump expected to announce coronavirus emergency at Friday news conference

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE will hold a news conference on Friday afternoon to discuss the coronavirus as cases continue to mount in the U.S.

Trump tweeted that he would speak about the virus at 3 p.m. at the White House. He did not specify what he would cover, but Bloomberg News reported he plans to declare a national emergency, a move that had been under consideration for some time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Declaring a national emergency would allow wider use of federal funds by state and local authorities, some of which have been overwhelmed by the fast-moving coronavirus.

The press conference will come as House lawmakers are likely to vote on sweeping legislation to provide financial help to victims.

The virus has killed at least 40 Americans and there are more than 1,700 cases nationwide as of Friday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump spoke to the nation on Wednesday night from the Oval Office, where he detailed new travel restrictions on most of Europe and pledged executive action to assist individuals and businesses directly impacted by the virus.

ADVERTISEMENT

He previously curbed travel to the U.S. from China and South Korea as those nations grappled with virus outbreaks, a decision that public health experts have praised.

The president has continued to try and minimize the threat of the virus to the country by comparing the death toll domestically to significantly higher numbers in certain other countries. Just before announcing the news conference, he suggested that the crisis would be much worse in the U.S. if he did not support strong border security.

He spent part of Friday morning lashing out at the Obama administration over its response to the swine flu and the Federal Reserve for failing to take stronger action on the economy.

The coronavirus has also become a more personal problem for Trump in recent days. He has interacted with several lawmakers who have since gone into self-quarantine after being in contact with an individual who tested positive.

Trump last weekend hosted Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. One of Bolsonaro's top aides appeared in a picture with Trump and has since tested positive for the virus, and Bolsonaro is awaiting results of his own test.

The White House says the president will not be tested himself, citing his lack of symptoms.

— Updated at 11:37 a.m.