Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump declares national emergency | Pelosi announces deal on coronavirus package | Trump pledges to overhaul virus testing

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump declares national emergency | Pelosi announces deal on coronavirus package | Trump pledges to overhaul virus testing
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Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWomen suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Crowds return during Memorial Day weekend Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (D-Calif.) says she has a deal with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump anti-reg push likely to end up in court Biden set to make risky economic argument against Trump Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE on a stimulus package to help Americans hurt by the coronavirus. Trump today also declared a national emergency over the coronavirus and vowed to overhaul the testing system.

 

Let's jump right in at the White House...

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Trump declares national emergency 

President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the coronavirus, freeing up additional resources and funding as federal, state and local governments attempt to combat the rapidly spreading disease.

The move allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to tap into billions of dollars and mobilize personnel more quickly to help state and local agencies and leaders respond. 

"I am officially declaring a national emergency -- two very big words," Trump said in remarks in the Rose Garden, adding that the move would release up to $50 billion in federal aid.

As part of the government response, Trump said he would waive interest on federal student loans "until further notice," and that the Department of Energy would buy up crude oil for storage in U.S. reserves and to help the industry.

The president urged states to set up emergency operation centers and hospitals to active emergency preparedness plans, as well as a partnership with private companies to increase testing capabilities. He also said that the administration was working to set up drive-thru test sites

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The administration has faced intense criticism over the slow rollout and availability of tests.

"The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car," Trump said. The president met earlier in the day with lab and pharmacy executives to discuss the initiative.

Read more on Trump's emergency here

 

Need help managing all the coronavirus news? The Hill will be recapping the biggest stories of the day during the outbreak. Click here for 10 things to know today about the coronavirus.

 

 

Trump pledges to overhaul coronavirus testing plagued by delays

Trump also vowed to overhaul the coronavirus testing approach in the U.S., with "drive-thru" options available in some locations.

The promised revamp comes after weeks of testing delays and difficulties accessing test kits by both doctors and patients.

Under the new approach, people who think they need to be tested can fill out an online screening questionnaire and be directed to the nearest drive-thru, with results provided in 24 to 36 hours.

"That is the intent of this approach," said Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, during a press conference with Trump and other administration officials in the Rose Garden.

"We've seen it work, just in our own United States, and we want to bring this across the continent," she added.

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Context: Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been highly critical of the administration's slow pace of testing for the coronavirus. The overhaul is meant to vastly speed up the process. 

More on Trump's overhaul here

 

More from the White House

Trump says he will 'most likely' be tested for coronavirus

Trump says four cruise lines will suspend trips for 30 days

Trump bumps elbows with exec during coronavirus press conference

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Trump blames Obama for coronavirus testing issues, says 'changes have been made'

 

Pelosi, Trump strike deal on coronavirus response package

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Trump struck a deal Friday evening on a multibillion-dollar stimulus package aimed at assisting millions of Americans directly hurt by the coronavirus outbreak, Pelosi said.

"We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act," Pelosi wrote in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.

The deal arrived after days of roller-coaster negotiations that put the outcome in doubt as the nation's leaders raced to ease public anxiety and stabilize volatile markets. Just hours before the deal was announced, Trump suggested in a Rose Garden address that he wasn't on board, raising doubts that the two sides could come together.

The agreement struck Friday aims to ease some of the economic stress by providing financial assistance to those most directly affected by the crisis, including unemployment and paid leave benefits. Perhaps more importantly, the deal aims to calm some of the public trepidation and market turmoil of recent weeks by demonstrating that Washington policymakers can put aside partisan differences and unite quickly behind an emergency response befitting -- at least in rhetoric -- the severity of the crisis.

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Click here and check back at TheHill.com for more on the emerging deal.

 

Stocks rally to finish roller-coaster week

It was also another wild day on Wall Street, which saw markets rally for big gains as Trump declared an emergency and over news that negotiators were closing in on a stimulus deal

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday with a gain of 1,985 points, rising 9.4 percent after it suffered its steepest one-day decline since the 1987 crash on Thursday. The S&P 500 closed with a gain of 9.2 percent, while the Nasdaq composite rose 9.3 percent on the day.

More here on the news from Wall Street.

 

Hold off on making plans… Fauci says coronavirus crisis could last up to 8 weeks 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the lead scientists behind the Trump administration's coronavirus response, said Friday that disruptions to everyday life in the U.S. could last up to eight weeks. 

Several cities and states have banned large gatherings, businesses are requiring their workers stay at home and Americans are generally being encouraged to limit their movements in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

"It's going to be at least a matter of several weeks," Fauci said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I mean it's unpredictable but if you look at historically, how these things work, it'll likely be anywhere from a few weeks up to eight weeks or more," he said, adding that he hopes it's going to be only two, three or four weeks. 

"It's really impossible to make an accurate prediction," he said. 

Read more on his remarks here

 

Worst-case coronavirus models show massive US toll

Statistical models meant to project the potential reach of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease suggest more than a million Americans could die if the nation does not take swift action to stop its spread as quickly as possible.

At least three different models built by epidemiology experts suggest that millions of Americans will contract the coronavirus, even in optimistic projections, based on what they know of its spread in China and the United States so far.

One model from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that between 160 million and 210 million Americans could contract the disease over as long as a year. Based on mortality data and current hospital capacity, the number of deaths under the CDC's scenarios ranged from 200,000 to as many as 1.7 million.

More from The Hill's Reid Wilson here.

 

 

On the campaign trail...

 

Sanders calls for 'massively' increasing coronavirus test kits

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE (I-Vt.) on Friday called on the federal government to "massively" expand the availability of tests for the coronavirus as the illness spreads across the country.

Speaking to reporters at his presidential campaign headquarters in Burlington, Vt., Sanders laid out steps the Trump administration should take to ensure that all Americans are adequately cared for amid the pandemic.

"We must prepare for this response in an unprecedented way, making sure that our government responds effectively and protects the interest of all of our people regardless of their income or where they live," Sanders said.

"Needless to say, we must massively increase the availability of test kits for the coronavirus and the speed with which those tests are processed. We need to anticipate significant increases in hospital admissions," he added. "We will need more doctors and nurses and medical personnel of all kinds, and we just make sure these frontline personnel are protected from this disease they are treating." 

Read more here

 

Louisiana to postpone primary

Louisiana is postponing its April 4 primary due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) announced Friday.

Ardoin is requesting that the governor postpone the primary to June 20 and municipal elections to July 25.

"We want to protect the health and safety of all Louisianans by doing our part to prevent the spread of this highly infectious disease," Ardoin told reporters.

He said that the decision was made to protect citizens and election commissioners, who tend to work out of locations where elderly citizens gather, such as nursing homes.

More on the decision here.

 

Coronavirus roundup

Masters Tournament to be postponed amid coronavirus fears

Coronavirus shakes up K Street

Ivanka Trump works from home after interacting with official who tested for coronavirus

Miami mayor tests positive for coronavirus

 

What we're reading

Trump administration blocks states from using Medicaid to respond to coronavirus crisis (Los Angeles Times

The worst-case estimate for U.S. coronavirus deaths (The New York Times

Two women fell sick from the coronavirus. One survived. (The New York Times

 

State by state

Oregon health care system braces for coronavirus surge (East Oregonian

Texas governor declares 'state of disaster' over coronavirus (dallasnews.com