DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re building thousands. We will fairly soon be at a point where we have far more than we can use, even after we stockpile for some future catastrophe, which we hope doesn`t happen. We`re going to be distributing them, the extras around the world.
We`ll go to Italy, we`ll go to France, we`ll go to Spain, which is, you know, very hard hit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On that note, is there any truth on reporting that your administration is stopping shipment of USAID stockpiles of PPEs abroad?
TRUMP: No, no truth whatsoever. No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, your administration is not --
TRUMP: And we want -- I would love China and other countries if they have additional supplies -- medical supplies to give to other countries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How the U.S. is still shipping to USAID?
TRUMP: 151 -- 150, why would I stop that? Wouldn`t it be terrible to stop that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I mean, is the U.S. stopping shipments of our own stockpile through USAID to other countries?
TRUMP: No, whatever we have, whatever we`ve committed to, we commit. But we also need a lot for ourselves. So, we`re very focused on that until we get over this. So, obviously, we`re not going to be shipping too much. Until now, we do have excess of certain things, and we don`t have enough of others.
I just had a great talk today with the Doug McMillon from Walmart. And I gave him a very, very big order to -- for gowns, for protective gear for the doctors, for the nurses for everything. And he`s actually very excited about it. He`s the biggest purchaser of this kind of thing.
I mean, of anything, probably in the world, and he is very excited about it. And he said, what size? I said it`s almost an unlimited.
When you look at these hospitals, the amount that they order, you almost say, how could they possibly use so much whether it`s masks or the protective gear, but we are supplying a tremendous amount, and we just ordered a lot from Walmart.
And he`s taken this on personally. And I said let it go ship -- let it be shipped not to a warehouse, directly to the side of the hospital, or wherever they need it because we save a lot of time when we do that.
So, Walmart, in addition to many other companies and people is now involved at the highest level. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The announcements that were made today are aimed at curbing the flow of narcotics into the country. Are you concerned that we`re possibly losing ground on the drug crisis while we`re --
TRUMP: I don`t think we`re losing ground, but we don`t want to lose ground that`s why we`re doing it. I don`t want to lose ground. It`s a big fight. I`ve seen many families where they`re wiped out because they lost a son or a daughter or a husband or a wife or whatever. Where we`re all of them.
And we don`t want to lose ground and we are heavily focused on the virus, very heavily focused. And with this, we have never -- after this goes into effect, which essentially is now we will never have been so focused on drugs coming into our country as we are right now.
And remember, as that wall gets bigger, that really helps us a lot. Really helps us a lot. Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the Mexican government or any other Latin American government working in conjunction with this operation to help that drug?
TRUMP: Many of the governments are. In Mexico, in particular, is in Mexico right now is we have 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our southern border, keeping people out of our country.
And were -- very few people are coming into our country right now. And as we complete, again, the wall, in addition to the 27,000 soldiers, it`s, it`s a very -- it`s a very tough place to come into.
When I -- when I took over, people were coming in and they were bringing whatever they wanted. They were bringing drugs of any type. And now it`s very hard for them and it will get harder and harder.
But, the president of Mexico is a great guy, who`s really helped us a lot. 27,000 soldiers -- 27,000 Mexican soldiers. And you remember when I first took over, they had all of the caravans coming up with 10,000, 15,000, people in the caravans they were marching through Mexico. That`s not happening anymore. Please, on the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are Norco Militants such as the FARC 57th, front of Colombia or the Maduro regime, do you know if they`re working in conjunction with the Mexican cartels? Is there any intelligence indicating that?
TRUMP: I cannot tell you that. I can -- I know the answer to that. I believe I do. But I cannot tell you that. We have information that would lead us to believe something very powerfully, but I cannot tell you the answer.
Yes, please, Jeff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, have U.S. forces in Iraq taking the precautions?
TRUMP: Yes, sure, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And because of this particular attack. And that you --
TRUMP: We`re taking precautions and we watching it very closely. And if something bad happens, it`s going to be very painful for the other side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been in touch with the Iraqi government about this?
TRUMP: They know about it. Yes, they know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they offering additional protection.
TRUMP: And we`ll see -- we will see what happens. But, you know, we`re down to a small force now over the years. Since I got, we`ve been bringing smaller and smaller, and we`re down right now to a small number, but we have very powerful airpower there. We have the big base.
And, which will -- and you know, I mean, nobody can get near it. And nobody can even get near that. But we`ve really largely left. You know, we`ve taken tremendous amounts out. And we`ve deployed them elsewhere, including bringing some back home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you think tweeting about it will help prevent that from happening, or perhaps --
TRUMP: -- social media. It`s social media, it gets out. I have, you know, hundreds of millions of people, number one on Facebook. Did you know I was number one on Facebook? And I just found out, I`m number one on Facebook, I thought that was very nice for whatever it means. It represent something and what I can explain to people just don`t do it, you know? It`s going to be bad if you do, it`s going to be really bad and they don`t need to do it, they have enough problems.
Iran has enough problems without doing that. But we`ve been pulling back very substantially over the last year in Iraq, and, so, you know, that`s the way it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said before you don`t want to give the enemy whoever that is, in this case, a heads up. Do you feel like maybe you did?
TRUMP: No, I`m just giving them a warning. It`s not a heads up. I`m giving them a warning, there`s a big difference. I`m saying if you do anything to hurt our troops, they`re going to -- they`re going to pay a price.
Now, they did last time, you know, ask for the question, they did last time. We didn`t make a big deal out of it, but we hit very, very hard. Five massive major ammunition sites.
And a lot of people went with it. A lot of bad people. A lot of enemy went with it. And we didn`t want to make a big deal out of it, but they`re paying a big price. They`ll pay a much bigger price this time if they do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes -- we get Admiral Gilday here, perhaps, we could ask the question about what the plans are for the Roosevelt, sir?
ADM. MICHAEL GILDAY, UNITED STATES CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS: Sure.
In terms of Roosevelt, we`re making great progress in terms of testing and also moving, moving people off the ship. So, in the past day or so, we`ve moved over 1,000. That number will increase to more than 2,700 by Friday.
And as we continue to increase the testing as well and fly those samples off. So, again, after pretty, pretty quickly.
ROBERTS: And will the ship remain fully operational?
GILDAY: It is fully operational now.
ROBERTS: And will -- and will remain some?
GILDAY: And will remain some.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I ask to follow up to that? What protocols are you putting in place to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus among servicemen and women who`ve been working --
GILDAY: Across the fleet, before we have any ships getting underway for training exercises for deployments, they`re spending for -- those sailors spending 14 days in quarantine before they underway. We`ve increased the amount of testing equipment as well as physicians on warships at sea.
So, we`ve taken additional steps since the beginning of the COVID crisis.
TRUMP: We`re not (INAUDIBLE) people of going to be getting off at various ports anymore. Right?
TRUMP: I think we -- and we`ve probably have decided on that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That means, civilians?
TRUMP: No, military people.
MARK ESPER, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I want to add -- I`d like to add one thing to that. There seems to be this narrative out there that we should just shut down the entire United States military and address the problem that way. That`s not feasible.
We have a mission. Our mission is to protect the United States of America and our people. And so, we live and work in cramped quarters, whether it`s an aircraft carrier, a submarine, a tank, a bomber, it`s the nature of our business.
But the chain of command has very clear guidance and I`m confident between the commanding officers and the senior non-commissioned officers that they`re taking every reasonable precaution to make sure we practice as best we can, social distancing, sanitizing environments, et cetera, consistent with that mission.
And that`s what I trust Admiral Gilday, Acting Secretary Modly, and all the other service chiefs and service leaders to do. And I`m confident we`ll do that because, keep in mind, we have a job to do and we will continue to do it, defend the United States of America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you mentioned the stockpile earlier. The Washington Post reported today that U.S. stockpile is nearly depleted of PPE. Is that the case? And if so, how --
TRUMP: Yes, it is because we`re sending it directly to hospitals. We don`t want it to come to the stockpile because then we have to take it after it arrives and bring it to various states and hospitals.
Now, one of the things, and again, we ask the states to do this as much as possible. Many of the states have people that whether it`s that or clothing, they make clothing, lots of clothing in many of the different states.
We said, see if you can get it directly from those manufacturers, make a deal. We`ll use the Purchase Act if we have to on them. They won`t -- by the way, so many people are -- the spirit is incredible what they are doing.
But we`ve asked states where they have large manufacturers of different types of equipment. To use those local factories, those local plants, and have it made directly, ship it right into the hospitals.
We`re shipping things right and we have, as you know, almost 10,000 ventilators which we need for flexibility. It`s a lot. It sounds like a lot, but it`s not because as you see on the board from yesterday, as this scourge, as this plague, as this virus moves, it moves very fast, and we don`t know yet whether we`re going to need it in Louisiana, in New York, and we`d -- you know, wherever it may be.
So, we`re ready for it, we`re totally ready for it. We`re going to be shipping out, we`ve already agreed to ship out over a thousand today to different sites, different locations. But we have to have the flexibility of moving the ventilators to where -- to where the virus is going.
And we`ll be able to see that -- you know, we`ll be able to see that from charts a couple of days in advance. So, right now, we have a nice pile of ventilators. We have a lot more coming in. We have a lot of -- I think we have 11 companies are making ventilators right now. Very good companies and they`re making them.
You know about Ford, you know about General Motors, but we have a lot of companies making the ventilators right now. So, now, the question is, and when you make one, it doesn`t get made in 15 minutes.
It`s not a mask can go quickly. A ventilator takes time to build, it`s very, very, as we discussed, it`s complex, it`s big, it`s expensive, you know, et cetera. But we`ll be able to move, we have great flexibility. John?
ROBERTS: I was just going to say, sir, if you want to move on to slow the coronavirus or stick with --
TRUMP: Yes, I think, if does anybody have any other questions for this great group of brilliant people. Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. Question for Secretary Esper. Is the military personnel that`s been fanned out across the country to help combat the virus. Is there any chance that they`re planning to see at some point, happen to military personnel, treat, foreseen, COVID-19 patients.
ESPER: Well, excuse me, as you know, we have the hospital ships currently deployed, one in L.A. and one in New York City. So, they are -- they will be, they could be treating patients as they come in, we`re taking precautionary measures to screen them beforehand to make sure that they`re not -- they`re not exposed if you will.
Same with the military hospitals that we are -- we are deploying certainly, again, to New York, Seattle, and other places. But the one thing we got to be careful of, were is that these are deployable assets, they are unique.
So, if we want to retain the ability to deploy military doctors, expeditionary military hospitals around the country, we`ve got to preserve and protect them as best we can. That said, we remain completely available to assist as need be, as directed by FEMA, as the vice president, and the president asks us.
That`s what we commit to do to the American people to help safeguard them and protect them through this -- through this virus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as part of that they -- will they be seeing coronavirus patients or will they strictly be seeing other patients and helping to --
ESPER: They could have called upon. I think the best use for them is based on their training and how they`re structured and organized is for trauma. We can take the load off of hospitals with regard to their trauma patients. Thereby, freeing up rooms and other doctors, particularly doctors who are, you know, respiratory nurses or doctors who deal with infectious disease to treat those type of patients. So, I think, it`s the best use of our resources.
But again, if push comes to shove, we`re prepared to do what we have to, to assist the American people. At the same time, preserving the Medicaid -- medical capability we need to support our operation deployed forces abroad.
TRUMP: We`re looking at doing two additional brand-new hospital ships, because these ships have really -- I mean, they really struck a blow, very positive blow for what they`re doing. Going here in Los Angeles, going into New York. So, we`re looking very seriously at building two additional ships of about the same size.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Building two new ones, or deploying two ones?
TRUMP: It will either be -- well, building. But we`re looking at building either two new ones, we`re doing the renovation of another large ship. But this has really worked out well. So, probably two brand new ones.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Mr. President -- Mr. President --
TRUMP: Isa this concerning the gentlemen or do want them -- do you want them to get back to work and capture all those bad people?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Follow up, Mr. President or Mr. Secretary.
TRUMP: Go ahead. Sure, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that Secretary Wilkie has said he`s on standby waiting to hear if V.A. hospitals need to be opened -- the door need to be open to civilians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you talking about that?
TRUMP: Yes, we are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could we see that -- how soon could that happen?
TRUMP: In fact, certain hospitals -- yes, certain -- can move very quickly. He`s a very capable man, and we`re ready to move very quickly. As an example, in Louisiana, they have a very big hospital. So, we`re looking to move very quickly if we need them.
You know, hopefully, we won`t need them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- people need that soon?
TRUMP: And we`re going to find out pretty soon. We`re only going to know when at the time it happens. We prepare for the worst. We are preparing for the worst. Unfortunately, that`s the way we have to look at it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to follow-up on the purpose of these naval ships. You mentioned something about treating trauma patient. And I`m just curious, what about things like, you know, giving birth? Would mothers be expected, in New York, for example --
TRUMP: Well, this is to understand they`re not doing that on the ship. That`s the one thing they`re not doing outside of the COVID-19. They are not doing that. The birth of a baby not being done on the ships.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Can I have a follow-up question with Attorney General Barr, please? This has to do with the visa restrictions on immigrant doctors. Is the administration considering easing the restrictions or waiving restrictions for doctors with J1 or H1B visas, so they can help other doctors during this crisis?
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Actually, the immigration laws are no longer under the administration of the Department of Justice and I haven`t been participating any of those discussions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what about you, Mr. President? Can you respond to that question, President?
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) please, one more. One more for this --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To you, Secretary Esper. The WHO, this is on the topic of coronavirus in Iran. The WHO confirms that Iran is vastly under- reporting its coronavirus cases, not just cases but fatalities. According to on-the-ground estimates, that it might be as high as 15,500 deaths.
32 commanders in the military in Iran are now confirmed either in dire condition or dead. You have eight percent of the parliament now down with coronavirus. So, is Iran`s soundings of aggressions today that President Trump, just tweeted about, do you think, strategically, is that a bluff on their part or is this a sign of very clear desperation? Where are you strategically on that?
ESPER: Well, first and foremost, we empathize for the Iranian people. I mean, they clearly have been hit hard. As you know, I think the president spoken about it. Certainly, Secretary Pompeo, we`ve offered assistance, we`ve offered medical supplies, et cetera, they have refused that.
I think if the Iranian regime put more interest in terms of taking care of their people and in the context of this virus they would be better served. Instead, the Iranian regime continues to want to spread its malign activities throughout the region. They want to continue to send out the Kurds force and others to cause problems throughout the region.
We know that in one-way shape, or form, they are the resourcing, directing, approving of whatever operations for Shia militia groups in Iraq that are targeting American forces. So, I think at the end of day, again, I feel a deep concern for the Iranian people.
The important thing is the Iranian government should focus on them and stop this malign behavior that they`ve been conducting now for over 40 years. I think the entire region and certainly the Iranian people would be better off for it.
TRUMP: And I happen to think they want to make a deal, they just don`t know really how to start. And they`ve been given some bad advice by former Secretary Kerry. It`s a very bad advice. And I really think they want to make a deal which is the Logan Act.
But we`d have to look at the Logan Act, all you have to do is take a look. I think they`ve had given very bad advice by Secretary Kerry. I think that -- I think they`re dying to make a deal.
Look, their country is in trouble, their economics are shot, they`re in -- they`ve got a lot of bad things going, I think they`d like to make a deal, they can get it settled very quickly.
No nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons. They can`t have nuclear weapons. It`s very simple.
OK, let`s -- let these folks get back to work, is that OK? Thank you all very much.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: And we just heard -- I guess this was part one of the daily briefing. And I guess that`s what we should call it.
This was less on coronavirus. I think we`re going to get the coronavirus daily briefing in a minute.
But I want to bring in Courtney Kube, our Pentagon correspondent, because I want -- you know Secretary Esper better than our viewers do. He created a straw man that I had not heard of, which is this idea , some people want us to shut down the whole military to deal with coronavirus.
And I`m like, I don`t know who that is. I don`t think anybody was suggesting that.
It struck me as a bit defensive. Any reason? Is there -- is there criticism coming in that we haven`t seen?
COURTNEY KUBE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It`s -- I mean, I imagine it`s mainly the fact that the Theodore Roosevelt, the Teddy Roosevelt, the U.S. aircraft carrier in Guam...
KUBE: ... there`s so much pressure to take all of the 4,800 sailors off of there.
And what you hear from the Navy leaders, what we heard from him today, in fact, Admiral Gilday, who was sitting -- who was standing there, and from the acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, is that they need to leave a certain number of sailors on that ship just to keep it safe, so to run the nuclear reactor, to make sure that the weapon systems all remains safe and that there`s there`s no kind of actual problem.
They don`t want to turn the ship into a problem. And -- but there has been -- there have been increasing, growing calls by people to take all the sailors off the ship, and then just scrub the whole thing down top to bottom before you put anyone else back on it.
KUBE: It`s -- the reality is, social distancing is nearly impossible on a ship like that.
It`s -- the sailors live together. Most of them share rooms with numerous other sailors. Most of them work in close quarters.
KUBE: So people are saying, if you want to really eliminate the threat of coronavirus to these individuals, you got to get them all off and clean the whole ship down.
TODD: We heard the president pledge two new hospital ships coming out of the military.
And he seemed to think, either they`re going to retrofit two other battleships to become hospital ships or two new ones.
What`s the like -- what`s -- what does something like that take? Is that years away, months away?
KUBE: So, it depends on what -- I don`t know what ships he`s talking about that they would try to retrofit, because if you look at the Mercy and the Comfort, they really are remarkable ships.
You step onto them, and you feel like you`re stepping into a hospital. They are not -- they`re not set up -- it`s not like you can take an aircraft carrier, which has a relatively extensive medical bay in it and medical capability, don`t get me wrong, but you can`t take a destroyer a frigate or something and somehow retrofit it without a lot of work.
It`s certainly -- it`s certainly possible, but I can`t imagine you could do that in less than a matter of months.
TODD: And building a new ship -- yes, building a new ship.
KUBE: I -- that`s the first -- candidly, Chuck, that`s the first I have heard of talk of that, adding additional ships.
TODD: Yes. Yes. All right.
Thought we`d do a little reality check on that.
TODD: Courtney Kube, our Pentagon correspondent, being very helpful to try to separate sort of the urgency from the less urgency there on that front.
Let`s go back to the briefing now, which is supposed to be focused on the coronavirus response itself.
Here we go.
TRUMP: ... million gowns, 2.2 million gowns.
Think of what that is, 2.2 million, to the Strategic National Stockpile from Ohio-based Cardinal Health. Cardinal Health, we appreciate it and they`re making much more than that and different types of things.
We`re profoundly grateful for their contribution to protect the lives and safety of our healthcare professionals. Cardinal has been working with us very well. FEMA and HHS formed a historic partnership with the private sector called Project Airbridge to bring supplies from other countries to the United States, including gloves, gowns, goggles, and masks. These supplies will soon be distributed around the country.
We have large cargo planes coming in from various parts of the world. Every day, new planeloads are landing in cities such as New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles. Additional flights have been scheduled and we`re adding more and more. And they were actually coming in ahead of schedule.
A lot of these flights are coming in with a lot of material ahead of schedule. The amount of usage, the amount of need is something that nobody`s ever seen before. We are getting so much, but no matter how much we get, they seem to use it up very quickly.
More than 17,000 National Guard personnel have now been activated all across our country. On Tuesday, the vice president sent a letter to the governors, calling on them to have plans in place to use the National Guard to move medical supplies from warehouses to hospitals.
So, a lot of times we`ll deliver supplies to a warehouse in a state. Someplace in New York, or in New Jersey, or in Connecticut, or wherever it may be. And they`re having difficulty getting it move.
So, what we`re doing if we don`t bring it directly to the hospital is we`ve authorized, it was a special authorization. The National Guard to go into that facility and to move it for the state.
So, the National Guard is moving a lot of this equipment and medical supplies into a hospital or into an area where it`s needed by the state.
As I said yesterday, difficult days are ahead for our nation. We`re going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially, a few days from now that are going to be horrific.
But even in the most challenging of times, Americans do not despair, we do not give in to fear, we pull together, we persevere, and we overcome, and we win. This week, every American heart is joined with the people of New York as they continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic.
Every New Yorker, please know that we are by your side. I love New York, and every day we will be with you. And it could very well be that others take over from New York. There are some areas, some hotspots in other states that are really exploding. Some like Louisiana were very late, and then, all of a sudden, it was like an explosion.
In confronting this deadly plague, America is armed with capabilities never dreamed of in past centuries. You look at 1917, the pandemic, it was something ravaged parts of this country, but ravaged Europe, ravaged.
They say, 75 to 100 million. Some people say 50 to 75 million people died. Think of that. And that was a long time ago, over 100 years ago. Very, very -- many books written about the 1917-1918 pandemic.
Our doctors are poring over the virus genetic code, designing potential therapies, and vaccines. Our planes are airlifting supplies from every corner of the earth. We`re watching other countries and they`re watching us to see whether or not, and who`s going to be the first to come up with a cure or a remedy of some kind. Or even a help, if it can help. And of course, a vaccine.
We`re looking very strongly for a vaccine. Johnson & Johnson is doing well and other companies are doing very well. But our most powerful asset, our greatest weapon in this effort is the spirit of our people. And we want to keep away, keep a distance, keep away. If you don`t get it, it solves a lot of problems. If you don`t get it, and you can`t get it if we keep the distance.
American spirit is unyielding, unwavering, and unbreakable. It`s incredible. I`ve never seen anything like it. The way -- the way the people have pulled together, the unity of this country.
So, together we`re going to win this war and the sooner we do, the sooner we can begin to rebuild, and we`re ready to rebound and return to normal lives. We won for the best economy in the history of the world, the best economy that this country has ever seen, the best employment numbers we`ve ever had. 160 million people working, almost 160 million.
To a point where the professionals came to me, and they say, sir, you`re going to have to shut the country down. I said what does that mean? They said, sir, you`re going to have to shut it down, and we`re going to build it up, and I think we`re going to build it up fast. I think we`re going to have a tremendous rebound. There`s a great energy and a great pent-up demand.
And as you know, phase three was terrific, and phase four, what passed in Congress. And phase four, if that happens will be great. I already proposed a paying almost zero interest on bonds, and I proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which would not only fix our roads, and highways, and bridges, and tunnels, and other things, but will also do something very good, it`s called, the jobs.
I`m also asking that restaurants and entertainment facilities go back to the old deductibility from corporations where corporations can buy because, otherwise, a lot of these restaurants are going to have a hard time reopening. It takes a long time, and they`re going to have a hard time reopening.
So, we`re asking for going back to deductibility, where corporations can buy, and corporations can go out to lunch and they pay and they get a deduction what they eat. They get a deduction on the bill.
And same with the entertainment, it`s going to bring a lot of people back. I think it will open up the restaurant business. People forget that years ago they had that. And when they got rid of it, when they ended it for whatever reason, but they ended it. Many, many restaurants went out of business, many entertainment type facilities went out of business, and now is a great time to bring it back.
It was -- it was a terrible time for that business after they ended it. But this is a great time to bring it back. It will keep our restaurants going. In fact, I think the restaurant business will be actually bigger and better than it is right now. So, we`re also talking about that.
And now, what we`ll do is we`ll take some questions. And I see Mike is back with some of the folks. That`s great. Dr. Fauci. And we will -- oh, how are you? Thank you, Deborah.
So, we`ll take some questions and we make progress day by day please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, yesterday, you were talking about a friend you had who was in a coma.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Started here, your friends going through that. But you said this is no flu. There`s still some people who kind of think of this as the flu, and over the past month, you`ve compared it to the flu sometimes. Saying, treat it like the flu, or you know, what treated hail, we handle the flu.
So, what changed your thinking on that -- when you (INAUDIBLE) with all that?
TRUMP: I think the severity. I think also in looking at the way the contagion, it is so contagious. Nobody`s ever seen anything like this where large groups of people, all of a sudden, just by being in the presence of somebody have it. A flu has never been like that, and there is -- a flu is contagious but nothing like we`ve ever seen here.
Also the violence of it. If it hits the right person, and you know what those stats are. If it hits the right person, that person is in deep trouble. And my friend was the right person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you heard about that with your friend like was that a turning point?
TRUMP: Yes, well, I`m not at turning any point know before that I knew how, because I`m seeing numbers and I`m seeing statistics that are, you know, not exactly very good. So -- but, it hit him very hard.
He`s strong. A very strong kind of a guy. But he`s older, he`s heavier, and he is sort of central casting for what we`re talking about, and it hit him very hard. I`ve never seen anything like it.
ROBERTS: Mr. President, and maybe this question is well for Dr. Birx or Dr. Fauci. Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted last night, and we checked today that there are still flights that are running between hot spots like New York and Detroit, New Orleans, as well. A number of flights were completed today. Senator Graham`s point is, if you are going to declare mitigation, should not be full mitigation and you stop people from traveling --
TRUMP: We are thinking about doing that. At the same time, we just, to start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very tough, John. It`s very tough. And you have them going, in some cases, from hot spot to hot spot. If you notice, they`re usually hot spot to hot spot. Very few flights. New York to Miami, but we are thinking -- we are certainly looking at it. But once you do that, you really are clamping down an industry that is desperately needed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But how do you make that calculation as to whether or not you keep the industry or you risk spreading contagion?
TRUMP: Yes, that is a calculation that we`re looking at right now. We`re looking at a very strongly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So let me follow-up to that, Mr. President. Not every governor has issued a stay-at-home order. All of you have made it very clear how important it is to stay home, that we are in a dire situation here, and that is how you stop the spread is staying home. Why not take the power out of the hands of the governors and you just issue a stay-at-home order for every state in this country?
TRUMP: Because states are different, states are different. And I understand that the governor of Florida, great governor, Ron DeSantis, issued one today. And that`s good, that`s great. But there are some states that are different. There are some states that don`t have much of a problem. They don`t have the problem. They don`t have thousands of people that are positive, or thousands of people that even think they might have it, or hundreds of people in some cases.
So you have to look at states. You have to give a little bit of flexibility. If you have a state in the Midwest, or is Alaska, as an example, doesn`t have a problem, it`s awfully tough to say close it down. So we have to have a little bit of flexibility.
Look, we are helping governors, we`re really here to help governors. They are the front line of attack, and that includes in purchasing, by the way. We are here and we`re backing them up, and there`s never been a backup like we have given them. We have given them billions of dollars worth of things, medical supplies and ventilators, thousands and thousands of ventilators. We have thousands under contraction right now. We have thousands ready to go in case they need it. There`s never been anything like this.
They have done, really, the people have done incredibly. We are building hospitals all over the country. We are building hospitals right now at a rate that has never even been contemplated before. Their mobile hospitals, but they`re really not mobile. They`re incredible structures, but we are building many hospitals, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York we just finished a massive hospital complex. Then we also have medical centers built in New York. We are building hospitals at the rate that this country has never done before. And hopefully it`s all going to work out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, I just want to make sure we are clear. On the planes, are you looking at just curtailing routes between certain hot spots, or is it broadly?
TRUMP: We are looking at the whole thing because we are getting into a position now where we want to do that, we have to do that. And so we`re looking at the whole thing. And we may have some recommendations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My second question on economics, just with oil, oil prices are very low. The Saudis have increased production. I know you have spoken about liking low oil prices, but then there is also the industry aspect.
TRUMP: Like from 1950, these oil prices. That`s when they had big dollars, big beautiful dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you advocate cuts, do you advocate cuts to production?
TRUMP: Look, we have a great oil industry, and the oil industry is being ravaged. And as you know, Russia, and I spoke to President Putin, we had a great call. Russia, Saudi Arabia, I spoke with a Crown Prince, we had a great call. But I think that they will work it out over the next few days. If you ask me, I think it`s just too simple not to be able to. They both know what they have to do. So I have confidence in both that they`ll be able to work it out.
But it has ravaged an industry worldwide. Not here, worldwide the oil industry has been ravaged. So there was a lot of oil production to start off with, and then on top of it, it got hit with the virus, and business went down 35, 40 percent. So that business is a tough one. And they have ships all over the sea. I told you yesterday, all over the sea, massive tankers that are using for storage. They go out and they sit there. There is no place to go. They have massive amounts.
Gasoline is going to be $0.99 a gallon and less. You know that? That`s already starting. It`s popping up, $0.99. So that`s like giving a massive tax cut to the people of our country. When we try to get the airlines going, if fuel is costing much less, it helps with getting the airlines, which is always a tough business, always has been a tough business.
But with that being said, look, I want to get that industry back where it was. We were doing records in that industry also. We want to get back to where it was. So I think that Saudi Arabia, Russia, they`re negotiating, they`re talking, and I think they will come up with something. I`m going to meet with the oil companies on Friday. I`m going to meet with independent oil producers also on Friday or Saturday, maybe Sunday. But we are having a lot of meetings on it. I think I know what to do to solve it, but if they`re unable to solve it, then I think I know what to do to solve it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give us a glimpse --
TRUMP: We won`t mention it now, but it`s tough. I think I know what to do to solve it. We don`t want to lose our great oil companies. We`re the number one producer of oil in the world, and a month ago when you said that, it was great. Today when you say it, it`s not so meaningful. But I do believe there is a way that that can be solved, or pretty well solved. And I would rather not do that.
I think that Russia and Saudi Arabia at some point, they`re going to make a deal in the not-too-distant future, because it`s very bad for Russia, it`s very bad for Saudi Arabia. It`s very bad. It`s bad for both. So I think they`re going to make a deal. The free market is a wonderful thing. It`s amazing how it can work. But I think they`re going to make a deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, a couple of questions, one for you, one more Mr. Wolf, if possible. Over 5 million immigrants in this country do you pay taxes through their I.D. numbers, yet they will not receive any money in their stimulus package. I know undocumented immigrants won`t receive any aid from the government in this crisis. How do you suppose they survive during the COVID-19?
TRUMP: You know, you are saying undocumented, meaning they came in illegally, and a lot of people would say, we have a lot of citizens right now that won`t be working. So what are you going to do? It`s a tough thing. It`s a very terrible, it`s a very sad question, I must be honest with you. But they came in illegally, and we have a lot a people that are citizens of our country that won`t be able to have jobs.
I do think once we get rid of the virus, I think we`re going to have a boom economy. I think it`s going to go up rather quickly, maybe very quickly, and maybe slowly, but it`s going to go up. And it will all come back. And I think it`s actually going to come back stronger than what it was because of the stimulus.
But it`s a really sad situation, and we are working on it. I will tell you, I`m not going to give you a hard and fast answer because I just want to tell you, it`s something I think about. And it`s something we are working on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Wolf?
TRUMP: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Mr. President. A question for Dr. Fauci. Looking beyond on the other side of this curve, are we looking at living with some sort of social distancing guidelines essentially until there is a treatment or a vaccine? For example, people are looking forward to the summer, talk about going to baseball games, going to concerts. We have political conventions over the summer. Are things like that possible or safe without a vaccine or a treatment in place?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think if we get to the part of the curve that Dr. Birx showed yesterday when it goes down to essentially no new cases, no deaths at a period of time, I think it makes sense that you`re going to have to relax social distancing. The one thing we hopefully would have in place, and I believe we will have in place, is a much more robust system to be able to identify someone who is infected, isolate them, and then do contact tracing, because if you have a really good program of containment that prevents you from ever having to get into mitigation, we are in mitigation right now. That is what the social and physical distancing is where.
The ultimate, the ultimate solution to a virus that might keep coming back would be a vaccine. In fact, I was on the weekly conference call with the WHO sponsored a group of all the health leaders in the world who are dealing with this. And we all came to the agreement that we may have cycling with another season, we`ll be much better prepared. We likely will have interventions. But the ultimate game-changer in this will be a vaccine, the same way a vaccine for other diseases that were scourges in the past that now we don`t worry about them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are they doing with the vaccine?
FAUCI: The vaccine is, as I said, it`s on target. We are still in phase one. There were three doses that we had to test. We`ve been through the first two doses. We`re on the highest dose now. When we get that data, it will take a few months to get the data to feel confident to go to the phase two. And then a few months from now we`ll be in phase two, and I think we`re right on target for the year to a year-and-a-half.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don`t mind me asking, you and Dr. Birx, have either of you received threats of any kind, or have you been given a security detail given that you`ve been out here every day on camera speaking?
FAUCI: Anything that has to do with security detail I would have to have you refer that question to the inspector general of HHS rather than my answer that.
TRUMP: He doesn`t need security. Everybody loves them. They`d be in big trouble if they ever attack. You know, he was a great basketball player, did anybody know that. He was a little on the short side for the NBA, but he was talented. He won a game, I read this, he won a game that was unwinnable against a great team, and his whole team said, we can`t beat this team, and he went in and they won the game. That was a couple of years ago, but the head never changes. The attitude never changes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I ask Dr. Fauci?
TRUMP: Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know he loves being up behind the podium.
TRUMP: He does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like going to the dentist. I don`t want to hit you with everything that`s coming along, but a lot of people who are watching television today heard from a researcher named Dr. Jacob Glanville who has come up with a potential antibody therapy that he has given to USAMRIID. I just wanted to know if you know anything about this, what you might be able to tell people at home about it who have seen it?
FAUCI: John, I don`t know specifically this individual, what they are doing, but I can tell you there is a lot of activity that is centered around a passive transfer of antibodies in the form of convalescent plasma, one. The number is to get immune globulin that you precipitate out of the plasma, and another is the monoclonal antibody. It`s based on the same principle. If you have a protective antibody, passive transfer of that could provide not only protection prophylactically, but also treatment.
This is an old concept. In fact, immunology was born decades and decades and decades ago with the concept of giving passive transfers of serum to an individual to protect them from an infection. I wouldn`t be surprised if he and a number of other people are pursuing this. It`s the right thing to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I follow up on antibody testing, please, Dr. Fauci? At what point can we as a country expect there to be a widespread antibody testing so we know exactly what we`re dealing with here, as well as other questions, such as when can people who are deemed to be healthy donate blood, for example?
FAUCI: OK, so when you talk about antibody testing, there are couple of things that you want to do. You want to find out if someone has been infected and whether or not they`re going to ultimately wind up being protected. Anybody testing right now is not the first thing on our priority. It`s something that we need to do is testing to see if someone is infected.
It is very important ultimately to be able to get a feel for what the penetrance of the infection was in society for number of reasons. You get a better feel of what the impact have been, but also you get a better feel of what the herd immunity would be. So I can foresee in the future that when we get the facility, which we`ll have for sure, ultimately you can get a test that can do this reasonably easy, and do the kind of what we call sero-surveillance study.
This is very analogous that Dr. Birx and I were talking about that a lot, and that is back in the day when she and I were both doing the HIV/AIDS issues back when we first discovered the virus in 83 and we had an antibody test and 1985. We found out by serial surveillance representative in different population that we were dealing with the tip of the iceberg when we saw individuals who were the ones who actually got infected. It gave us a really good feel for how many people were infected, how many were doing well, and how many are getting ill. I foresee that we will have that same sort of information, which will be important information. But right now, that is not our immediate problem.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Let me just follow up with that, because I think, as I discussed before, we had great -- I just want to thank all the epidemiologists and scientists out there who worked with us over the last four weeks on models. They really, many came forward and really supported us.
Right now, we are in talks with a whole series of universities. We have the most brilliant scientists in the world in our universities in state after state, some of them public-health universities, some basic science. All of them have received NIH grants for HIV or other development of assays in the past. I have talked to a lot of them over the last few days to really ask them to develop these ELISA tests that could be used rapidly in their health care centers, because immediately, it`s easy to do. We`ve all developed ELISAs. So in a day or two after development they could screen their entire hospital. I think that would be very reassuring to the health care workers who have been on the front line. We worry about them every day.
And so I`ve really called on every university and every state to develop ELISAs. You can buy the antigens and the controls online, and really work to test entire health care communities in your states and support them that way.
At the same time, we worked in sub Saharan Africa on what we called dried blood spots. So we are looking at, could you use that in a community while we work on the point of care tests, where you just dot blood onto this paper, and then that can go into the lab and be analyzed. That would allow us to look in nursing homes at other long-term care facilities immediately.
And then finally we`ve reached out to the developers of the rapid test, the ones who developed it for malaria, the ones that developed them for HIV. It`s exactly the same concept and process to ask them to rapidly develop these tests, because I think we owe it to the frontline health care providers, not only to provide them RNA tests, but many of them had been on the frontline now for four weeks, may have been exposed. We now know there`s asymptomatic, and I think really being able to tell them, the peace of mind that would come from knowing you already were infected, you have the antibody, you are safe from reinfection 99.9 percent of the time.
And so this I think would be very reassuring to our frontline health care workers. And our universities can do that by Friday. So I am putting that challenge out to them to really work on that and do that. That is what we did in the early days. We had ELISAs up and running within days of having the antigen. And so this is what is really possible. So we are not waiting. We`re asking for help now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So potentially this could happen soon, even within this month, if people --
BIRX: It will happen soon, within this month, if the universities help us, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, on Florida, Governor DeSantis says he spoke with you before issuing his stay-at-home order.
TRUMP: He did. He spoke with me this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has some loopholes in that.
TRUMP: That I don`t know. He spoke to me this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For religious events for example, large religious groups can meet together.
TRUMP: Who can?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Religious groups.
TRUMP: He didn`t speak to me about that. But he did speak to me this morning. We talked about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Full mitigation, sir, does that go against your model, because that`s not full mitigation?
TRUMP: I don`t know. I`d have to look at what he did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back to the health care workers on the front lines, following up with Dr. Birx as well, hazard pay, you have said you have wanted that for the health care workers on the front lines. I know Secretary Mnuchin has mentioned something about that possibly in the fourth level of the stimulus.
TRUMP: I like it. I like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But can you make it happen now? Do we have to wait for a fourth --
TRUMP: I think it`s something we are discussing in terms of bonus pay, or bonus pay. It doesn`t have to be called hazard pay. It could be called -- I watched those people go into hospitals that I know. I talked about one of them, right? But I watch them walk into the hospitals. And they walk in, men, women, young, middle-aged, not so many older ones. And I watch them, they`re almost like -- and I think I can take the word "almost" out, they`re like warriors. They`re going in.
People are cheering. Where there is a building across the street, the people are screaming, they`re clapping. There like heroes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the Empire State Building.
TRUMP: I will tell you, I think it`s incredible. They`re like warriors. There like soldiers. And we`re going to be doing something for them. So whether it is a bonus, because we are hopefully going to be over this relatively quickly. It`s going to be vicious for period of time, but hopefully we`re going to be over this. You have a lot of questions today. Look at you. Do know this young lady behind you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never met her before in my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re practicing social distancing. It keeps our marriage strong.
TRUMP: It`s good for a marriage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are a lot of people who are worried about getting sick and do they end up in a hospital, people who are insured, and will they be crushed by medical bills. You were considering last month, last month already in March, reopening the healthcare.gov exchanges. There has been a determination not to do that. Could you tell us what the rationale was behind that? And what would you have as an alternative?
TRUMP: They took that out under the task force. And maybe Mike, you want to say a few words about that?
MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. What I can tell you is that the president has made a priority from the outset of our task for work to make sure every American knows that they can have the coronavirus and they don`t have to worry about the cost. We were very inspired as well because of the president`s engagement with the leading health insurance companies in the country that now, so far, two of the top health insurance companies in America have announced that they`re not only willing to waive co-pays on testing, and now testing is fully covered because of the bill the president signed for every American, but also these two insurance companies have waived co-pays on all coronavirus treatment.
And I can assure you that as Congress and the president and the administration begin to discuss the next piece of legislation, we`re going to make sure that Americans have those costs compensated and covered. Our priority right now is ensuring that every American takes 30 days to slow the spread to heart. The best thing we can do for one another, for our families` health, for the most vulnerable among us, is practice those mitigation strategies that the president outlined yesterday for the next 30 days.
We are dealing with testing to make sure that every American can have a test that needs one. We are dealing with supplies, and we are making great progress in building personal equipment and ensuring that ventilators are available, particularly for the communities most impacted.
But the American people can be confident that as we move into this, we`re going to make sure that our health care workers are properly compensated for their extraordinary and courageous work. And we will make sure that the financial burden on those who end up contracting the coronavirus and dealing with its most serious symptoms also can deal with those issues and deal with those costs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understood, Mr. Vice President, but there will be people who don`t have insurance who get sick before any of these mitigation efforts are put into place. And without opening the health care exchanges, where can they find insurance? People who aren`t insured by these companies that are covering the costs of the co-pay, where can people go to now to get health insurance if they get sick, before they get sick?
PENCE: All across America we have Medicaid for underprivileged Americans. And at the president`s direction, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has given unprecedented waivers for states to expand coverage for coronavirus testing and treatment. We`ve also extended waivers for Medicare administration to make sure that people have access to that coverage. But we`re going to continue to bring opportunities to the president. The traditional systems of Medicaid in particular for the uninsured in America --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you expend that to cover middle class people?
PENCE: I think what we`re seeing health insurance companies do today, John, is really inspiring. One of the things that`s characterized the president`s approach here --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President, I`m sorry to belabor the point, but that is for people who already have insurance.
PENCE: One of the things that has animated and characterized the president`s approach is the way he is engaged American businesses to step up and do their part. And as the president said many times, we are inspired by the spirit of American businesses. I was at a distribution center for Walmart today in southern Virginia, and I saw the way this company that literally has already hired thousands of people. These workers are coming to work, the truck drivers are coming to work, farmers are working in the field. Grocery stores made a commitment to the president a month ago that no grocery store in America would close down.
The food supply is strong. We are getting food on the table of every American. But it`s because the president went to these leaders and said we need you to step up and do your part. We engaged health insurance executives early on in this process to waive co-pays on coronavirus testing. And because of the engagement, and frankly because of that patriotic and compassionate spirit that`s been reflected, we have already seen two of the largest insurance companies in the country announce that they`re going to be providing full coverage, free of charge, for coronavirus treatment.
I fully expect, I think as the president does, too, that we will see more of that for people to have insurance. We will continue to provide flexibility for Medicaid for people that don`t have insurance, and we will make sure that Medicare has the flexible to meet this moment.
For seniors, we remember that seniors with underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable to serious outcomes from the coronavirus. But we will get through this using the full weight of the federal government and the full strength of the American economy.
TRUMP: John, I think it`s a very fair question, though, and it`s something we`re really going to look at, because it doesn`t seem fair. If you have it, you have a big advantage and at a certain income level you do. I think that`s one of the greatest answers I`ve ever heard, because Mike was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question. I said, that`s what you call a great professional. Let me just tell you, you really are, it`s really a fair question, and it`s something we`re looking at.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of a fair question, I always endeavor to ask fair questions, but this is a huge worry for people in this country who were in that doughnut hole. They don`t have commercial insurance, they don`t qualify for Medicaid. What do they do?
TRUMP: They`re a certain group, and it`s a pretty big group. We`re looking at it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We spent the entire 2000 election talking about the doughnut hole, and it`s still there.
TRUMP: I haven`t been up there yet. The other people have been talking about it. And they haven`t spoken --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was 20 years ago we were talking about.
TRUMP: But they are talking about it -- I know, but they`re talking about it in the 2020 election, too, and nobody has gotten to it. Nobody has talked about it at all. I think we will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We you get to it, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I think we will, yes. I think we`re get to it. I think we`re going to get to it. I don`t think the other group will get to it. They haven`t even spoken about it. And it`s a big group of people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you committing that there`s --
TRUMP: No, I`m not committing, but it`s something we`re going to look at. I can`t commit. I have to get approval from it. I` have a thing called Congress. But it`s something we`re going to look at, and we have been looking at it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you mentioned in this congressional bill, the phase four, you would like to see something?
TRUMP: If there is a phase four. We are certainly looking at certain things. We want to help restaurants, entertainment, we want to help, because it`s jobs. It`s not just restaurants. It`s jobs, tremendous amounts of jobs. So we are looking at that. We`re looking at infrastructure. Think of it, we will have spent $8 trillion, way back, we`re way pulled back, but we will have spent $8 trillion in the Middle East, and yet our roads are in bad shape, our bridges, our tunnels, bad shape. And we`re going to be the talk of the world again, soon.
But we want $2 trillion. We will have spent in the Middle East, and all we got out of it was death and cost. But all we got out of it was death. Millions of people, you have to look at the other side, too, millions and millions of people killed, our great soldiers, thousands killed, so many wounded, hurt. And yet when we want to go and fix a road someplace, we want to do what we want to do in our country. It`s time that we spent money on our country. That is what we`re going to do. It`s time that we start spending on our roads and our bridges and our schools and all of the things that we are supposed to be spending on.
And people are finally getting used to it. And you could look at all of what we have done in the Middle East way back in so many different places, way back in other countries too, by the way. And I have gone to other countries that are very rich. I said, I`m sorry, you`re going to have to reimburse us for our costs. They don`t even know what we`re talking about. It takes them 20 minutes to figure it out because nobody has ever asked them to do that, and they`re doing it. They`re doing it. And they have no choice. They have to do it. So it`s time that we start spending on the USA.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, this is a question for the vice president. On March 9th you said 1 million tests had been delivered and another 4 million would be delivered by the end of the week. They clearly did not happen. What happened with those projections? What went wrong?
PENCE: I think the test kits were delivered, according to HHS. But the difference is between receiving a test and the ability to rapidly produce a result for that test. And frankly, because of the public-private partnership that the president initiated, now more than a month ago, with our massive commercial laboratories across the country, our team was reported today that we are doing more than 100,000 tests a day, more than 1.2 million tests have been performed. States have established drive- through sites all across the country. In fact, states have been so successful with the community-based and drive-through testing that we are working to transition over completely all of the federal work on drive- through testing and have the states completely manage that process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying 4 million tests were delivered by the end of that week?
PENCE: HHS was very busy from early in the year delivering test kits around the country. But the difference was, as the president said many times, we had an antiquated system where a state laboratory or CDC only have the capacity to process 40 to 60 tests a day. Now with the commercial labs, literally those labs are processing tens of thousands of tests every day.
And so while we are continuing to distribute test kits around the country, not because of the partnership with companies like Roche and Quest and LabCorp, the American people are seeing the results of those tests more rapidly than at any point in the past, and we expect that will continue to expand.
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