US Coronavirus cases TRANSCRIPT: 4/16/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back. It`s 6:00 p.m. on the East Coast.

And we are awaiting the start of today`s briefing from the White House Coronavirus Task Force and of a pretty big show-and-tell today. We`re expecting the president to announce guidelines for states to begin reopening parts of their economies.

We have been getting a look at the PowerPoint presentation they will be sharing with the public here in a few minutes. And though governors and local officials will ultimately make the final decisions, these are the guidelines that they want all states to use to make those decisions.

The president held calls today with members of Congress to also preview his plan. Our reporting indicates that members repeatedly told him that the thing that was missing in here was more testing. None of this works without more testing.

The context for all of this, the number of unemployed Americans surged today to 22 million. Another five plus-million filed first-time unemployment claims. And it wiped out -- technically wipes out every single job game that has been made since the last recession.

With me now, as we await the start of this briefing, I have got White House correspondent Kristen Welker. I have got NBC News business correspondent and MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, virologist NBC News science contributor Joseph Fair, and Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, infectious disease physician and medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston University School of Medicine, and a White House correspondent for the -- and as well as a White House correspondent for "The Washington Post," Anne Gearan.

So, we have got a lot going on.

Dr. Fair, though, and, Dr. Bhadelia, I have got a question for you, based on -- based on the nursing home tragedy that we saw -- that we see taking place in New Jersey. And we know these hot spots are in a lot of places.

There`s a lot of people that are watching right now, Dr. Fair, that have family members in a facility. If you find out your family member is in one of these facilities that has somebody who tested positive, but your family member hasn`t, what do you tell -- what do you tell them to do?

DR. JOSEPH FAIR, MSNBC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: That`s really going to be a conversation between them and their caregiver and the specifics of either their parent or loved one`s circumstances.

And I`d like Dr. Bhadelia`s opinion on that first before I answer any further on that.

(LAUGHTER)

FAIR: But I think that`s really going to be a specific conversation between them

But something they universally can do is ask the facility what precautions that facility is specifically taking against the spread of COVID-19.

TODD: Dr. Bhadelia, I`d love -- yes, love for you to weigh in on this.

DR. NAHID BHADELIA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

I think that Dr. Fair said this exactly right. Some of this will depend on the patient, the family member who`s actually in the nursing facility, and what is their risk?

Imagine, with their advanced age, they`re at higher risk to have a more severe course. The biggest thing is that a lot of both medical facilities, dialysis facilities, nursing home facilities have started to put in a lot more measures in terms of protecting patients and health care workers.

And some of this is coming from the data, the fact that people may come in, health care workers may come in, who are completely well and still shed the virus, and others may get this infection.

So, there`s universal masking of both patients, as well as health care workers, within the health care worker settings. It`s one of the things that nursing homes could be doing. And the questions that I would ask are exactly as Dr. Fair said. What are those infection control measures in place?

TODD: Because you know there`s going to be family members who wonder, is this person safer in my house or safer in their own facility?

And there`s risk to either way, I imagine, right, Dr. Bhadelia?

BHADELIA: I would say they`re probably still safer in the facility, because that is a medical area that has been geared to do the kind of decontamination, because it`s not just transmission from a sick person or person shedding to another person.

It`s also the ability to completely clean environment, which also could transmit the virus, the potential that you might touch something that`s contaminated. And that level of decontamination happens much better in facilities that are linked for that.

TODD: Right.

BHADELIA: And I would also say that the worrisome part of this is, there`s a "Nature" article that came out recently, this week, that says that 43 percent of the transmissions actually occur before you develop symptoms.

So, half of the people you are going to infect are already infected before you...

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: You don`t even know it.

BHADELIA: Yes.

TODD: That is a very scary proposition when it comes to this virus.

We`re obviously going to get a preview of how to open.

Stephanie Ruhle, we had another five million today. So we have 22 million people. We have -- they have already run out of the small business funds. It`s obvious we have underestimated the impact of this.

But how -- by a factor of what have we underestimated the economic impact of this virus?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Chuck, let`s go through a few things.

The idea that there`s this enormous pent-up demand, and we`re going to snap back, people are starting to realize that`s not the case. In the last few minutes, you have talked all about the importance of tracking and testing.

Just think about this for a moment. We`re not turning back the country on like a light switch. And businesses realize that. That`s why you`re seeing more and more unemployment claims.

It`s going to be health department officials, working with local and state governments, to figure this out. And realize, in the last 24 hours, when the president had, what, it`s called -- this new great American industry groups and all the CEOs talking to him, the majority of them aren`t saying, we just need to rush back out there on the field, coach, because they know that`s not possible, right?

Name a CEO that`s not saying to the president, we don`t need mass testing. Who -- are you talking -- was it the CEO from Morgan Stanley? They have got their own hospital. The CEO of Salesforce, he`s got his own hospital.

These businesses know that things are going to change indefinitely. Bill Gates earlier today said, we`re most likely not going to get a vaccine for 12 to 18 months. That means social distancing is here for that long.

You and I aren`t going to be sitting next to one another at the movies. And you`re seeing that reflected in the unemployment numbers, because businesses know that.

But where it`s not a surprise that the small business loan program has run out of money, it is essential that more money gets put in that program. But, Chuck, if they replenish it, they have got to take a really close look at the language, because I promise you, when we see all the businesses that applied for this loan, you`re going to see a lot of industries that were not dramatically impacted.

And we can`t turn the clock back. We have got to get the money to the heart of this economy, those smallest businesses that that first $350 billion didn`t get to.

TODD: All right. All right.

Well, that was a good place for you to stop your sentence there, Stephanie Ruhle, because the president has hit the podium.

Let`s take a listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation is engaged in a historic battle against the invisible enemy. To win this fight, we have undertaken the greatest national mobilization since World War II. And that`s exactly what it`s been.

We have marshaled every instrument of American power, and we have unleashed our most important weapon of all, the courage of the American people.

These have been trying times. A cruel virus from a distant land has unfairly claimed thousands of precious American lives. To every citizen who has lost a cherished loved one, your pain is our pain. We mourn as one national family.

Our country has come together. We draw solace from the faith that God has received and the departed -- he has taken the departed into his eternal and loving embrace. They will never be forgotten.

Over the last weeks and months, millions of Americans have joined together in a shared national sacrifice to halt the spread of this horrible disease. The Army built field hospitals in sports arenas and Convention Centers. The Army Corps of Engineers is great, over 20,000 beds in record time.

The Navy sailed hospital ships to our biggest cities. Lifesaving supplies and experimental medicines were rushed to the front lines, as we launched a rapid search for groundbreaking treatments and vaccines.

We built the most advanced and robust testing anywhere in the world, and we have done more testing than any country anywhere in the world. We suspended dangerous foreign travel. We leveraged our industrial base to produce vast quantities of critical medical gear and enacted a historic $2 trillion relief package.

Through it all, we have seen the heroism of our doctors and nurses like never before. These are our warriors. The bravery of our truck drivers, such bravery, and food suppliers, such incredible bravery, and the determination and drive of our citizens, through this unified national endeavor, we have made great progress. You could really say incredible progress.

Our experts and scientists report that our strategy to slow the spread has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Models predicted between 1.5 million and 2.2 million U.S. deaths. If there was no mitigation, it could have been even higher than that, and between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths with mitigation.

It`s looking like we will come far under even these lowest numbers. Thanks to our all-out military operation and the extraordinary devotion of our people, we believe we will experience far fewer deaths than even the optimistic projection.

But there is no such thing as an optimistic projection on death. One person is too many.

Our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak in new cases is behind us. Nationwide, more than 850 counties, or nearly 30 percent of our country, have reported no new cases in the last seven days.

Because of our early and aggressive action, we have avoided the tragedy of health care rationing and deadly shortfalls that have befallen many other nations, nations which, wherever possible, we are helping.

In America, no person who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. We`re making hundreds of thousands of ventilators. We have delivered thousands and thousands of ventilators to the states. And, actually, it`s been an incredible operation.

We started with very little, and we ended with a lot.

The United States has achieved a significant lower mortality rate than almost all other countries. Based on the latest data, our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war, which we are calling opening up America again.

And that`s what we`re doing. We`re opening up our country. And we have to do that. America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open.

As I have said for some time now, a national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution. To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy. Over the long haul, you can`t do one without the other. It cannot be done.

To keep vital supply chains running, these chains have to be taken care of so delicately. They`re delicate. The balance is delicate. We want to deliver food and medical supply. We must have a working economy. And we want to get it back very, very quickly.

And that`s what`s going to happen. I believe it will boom.

A prolonged lockdown, combined with a forced economic depression, would inflict an immense and wide-ranging toll on public health. This includes a sharp rise in drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide, heart disease, and many other dimensions of physical and mental well-being.

Moreover, many patients have put needed medical care on hold, creating entirely new hazards for public health. Our country has suffered. The world has suffered; 184 other countries have suffered.

Therefore, my administration is issuing new federal guidelines that will allow governors to take a phased and deliberate approach to reopening their individual states. I have dealt with them now a long time, and we have had a great relationship. Democrat, Republican, the relationship has been good.

This strategy is based on hard, verifiable data.

I want to thank Dr. Birx for her incredible leadership in crafting these guidelines, in consultation with scientists, experts, and medical professionals across government.

Dr. Birx will explain the guidelines in more detail in a few moments. And Dr. Fauci has been absolutely terrific. We have all worked together, and we have worked together well. They are interested in the health of our country. And we`re all interested in the viability and making us truly great again.

We took the greatest economy in the history of the world, and we closed it in order to win this war. And we`re in the process of winning it now.

Our approach outlines three phases in restoring our economic life. We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time. And some states will be able to open up sooner than others. Some states are not in the kind of trouble that others are in.

Now that we have passed the peak in new cases, we are starting our life again. We`re starting rejuvenation of our economy again in a safe and structured and very responsible fashion.

Our strategy will continue to protect senior citizens and other vulnerable populations, while allowing military and other groups of incredibly talented people to go about their real business and the business that`s supposed to be hard at work at doing, and nobody does it better. Our military is the greatest anywhere in the world. And we`re so thankful for what they have done.

Healthy Americans will now be able to return to work as conditions on the ground allow. Instead of a blanket shutdown, we will pursue a focus on sheltering the highest-risk individuals. So important.

We`re establishing clear scientific metric and benchmarks on testing, new case growth, and hospital capacity that must be met before advancing to each phase. And that`s each phase, specifically, in the reopening of our country.

This is a gradual process. As the caseload in a state continues to go down, restrictions can continue to be eased and come off. Throughout the process, citizens will be continue to be called upon to use all of their weapons in this war, vigorous hygiene, teleworking when possible, staying at home if you feel sick, maintaining social distance, sanitizing commonly used surfaces, and being highly conscious of their surroundings.

Those are our weapons. And they`re very powerful weapons, indeed.

Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that meets the diverse circumstances of their own states. Every state is very different. They`re all beautiful. We love them all. But they`re very, very different.

If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that. And if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task, and very, very quickly, depending on what they want to do.

We are also encouraging states to work together to harmonize their regional efforts. We will have numerous cases where states have worked and will be working very, very closely together.

As we reopen, we know that there will be continued hardships and challenges ahead. Our goal will be to quickly identify and address any outbreaks and put them out rapidly.

If the virus returns in the fall, as some scientists think it may, possibly, these guidelines will ensure that our country is up and running, so that we can likewise put it out quickly.

At the heart of our strategy is the vital role of medical research, especially for therapies that will significantly improve outcomes for high- risk patients and reduce the need for urgent care. This will be tremendously valuable in allowing life to eventually return to normal.

At least 35 clinical trials are already under way, including antiviral therapies, immune therapies, and blood therapies in the form of convalescent plasma. You have all heard about some of these events and some of these therapies. They have come a long way. What`s been done in the last four weeks is incredible.

We will also continue to expand our testing capacity. We have now completed more than 3.5 million tests, by far the most anywhere in the world.

Areas of our country that have been hot spots have done much more testing on a per capita basis than South Korea. We have done more than South Korea. And South Korea has done a good job, but we have done more.

We will continue to work with governors to advise them on how to conduct both surveillance and diagnostic testing. We have now distributed over 600,000 Abbott ID NOW point-of-care diagnostic tests. These are tests that are done on site, and, within five minutes, you know the answer, positive or negative.

In recent days, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of tests performed by hospitals and academic institutions, with more than 120,000 tests recently reported in a single day, far more than any country in the world has ever been able to do. And our numbers are actually going up.

As these new and better testing solutions come online, we`re seeing this additional capacity reflected in the numbers. For this reason, the number of tests processed in commercial laboratories has dropped from approximately 100,000 to roughly 75,000 tests over the last week.

The reason it dropped is because we have so many other tests, and we don`t even have to go through the laboratories. But the laboratories have tremendous additional capacity, and states feel free to use that capacity.

Some in the media falsely reported this as a bad thing, when, in fact, it is a great thing, because it indicates that the states are moving to faster, more local testing solutions, including on-the-spot tests.

So, this drop in the utilization of commercial laboratories is an affirmation that testing, which is at an all-time high, is growing at a historic rate. In other words, the laboratories are great, but now we have forms of testing that are much quicker, much better, and we don`t have to use the laboratories, but they`re there, and they have a great capacity to do the work.

As Dr. Birx has been advising our governors for weeks, we continue to have an excess testing capacity of one million tests per week available for use, and our capabilities are growing every single day, especially with the new tests that are coming on to the market rapidly.

As we begin a science-based reopening, we must be extra vigilant in blocking the foreign entry of the virus from abroad. Border control, travel restrictions and other limitations on entry are more important than ever to keep the virus in check and allow Americans to get back to work.

The sacrifices our citizens have made in this time of crisis will be remembered, studied, honored, and praised for generations to come. We`re really all working together, Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal. We`re all working together. This is not about parties. This is about our country.

Now the American people are ready to rise to the occasion once again. They`re ready to show the world once more that Americans can defeat any challenger.

Together, we will rebuild this land that we love. We will reclaim the magnificent destiny that we share, and we will carry our nation forward to new heights of greatness and glory.

I would now like to ask Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Birx to further explain the new guidelines.

I want to thank Dr. Birx. I want to thank Dr. Fauci. And I want to thank really, especially, a man who has devoted 24 hours a day to his task force, and done such an incredible job, our great vice president, Mike Pence.

Please, Mike.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. President.

The members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force today joined the president to meet with a bipartisan group of members of the House and of the Senate to get their counsel on the development of what the president unveiled to America`s governors this afternoon.

The new guidelines for opening up America again are a product of the best science and the best common sense that the president has marshaled on this team and from a broad range of advisers from all across the nation.

From the moment President Trump established the White House Coronavirus Task Force, early on, he made it clear that -- that we have no higher priority than the health and safety of the American people.

The president launched a whole-of-government approach.

And while we stand here on this day with more than 640,000 Americans having contracted the coronavirus, and our hearts go out to the families of the more than 31,000 Americans who lost their lives and those who continue to struggle with serious consequences of the coronavirus, the truth is that, because of the decisive action that our president took early on, suspending travel from China and thereafter from portions of Europe and South Korea, screening passengers, because of the strong actions, in partnership with every governor across America, because of the extraordinary efforts of America`s health care workers on the front lines, and because of the cooperation of the American people, and God`s grace, we are slowing the spread.

We are flattening the curve. We have preserved the capacity of our health care system, and we have protected the most vulnerable.

In a word, because of the actions of this president, this administration, governors at every level, our health care workers, and our fellow Americans, we saved lives.

And every American should be comforted by that.

And we can see it in the numbers. In the charts that I will present today, these three maps track influenza-like illness, which, in this instance, is mostly coronavirus across America.

The first map reflects the total number of cases on the week ending March the 28th. The next map reflects our data about the total number of cases on the week ending April 4. And we stand here today with the final map reflecting the total number of cases across America as of April the 11th.

With these trends under way, President Trump tasked the White House Coronavirus Task Force to develop new guidelines for opening up America again. Those guidelines were presented today first to our nation`s governors.

And it is our intention, at the president`s direction, to provide these guidelines to assist governors and state health officials in evaluating the most responsible manner to reopen the economies of their states at a time and manner of their choosing.

The guidelines, as Americans who are looking on will note, begin with what is the best criteria that our experts have developed, a downward trajectory in cases over a 14-day period of time, ensuring that states have proper capacity in their health care facilities.

The second set of proposals includes a description of recommendations for state preparedness.

And let me say to the American people what President Trump made clear to our governors today, that our administration will continue to work day in and day out, through our task force, through FEMA, to ensure that our states have not only the medical supplies, but that we continue to rapidly expand testing across the nation.

The president reflected on the progress we have made on testing, but a few statistics for that as well, which I hope are an encouragement to the American people.

On March 11, we had performed a total of 23,588 tests. Because of the public-private partnership that President Trump initiated with commercial labs across the country, that number was 83,500 by March 18. And, as the president just said, that number is 3.5 million today.

It is our expectation that we will have tested more than five million Americans before the end of the month of April. And we will continue to scale those resources.

So, testing and medical supplies will continue to be an ongoing partnership with our states. And we want our health care workers and people all across the country to know of our commitment to that.

Finally, the president directed us to propose a phased approach to reopening, to reopening our economy. It is based on up-to-date data and readiness. And we will continue to provide the very best data to our states, working with their health officials.

The focus is on the mitigation of any risk of resurgence or the emergence of the coronavirus in states where it`s not yet emerged.

There is a focus in the president`s new guidelines on the most vulnerable. And we made this very clear to the governors today, these new guidelines for opening up America again can be implemented on a statewide basis or on a county by county basis.

With that, I`m happy to turn it over to Dr. Deborah Birx. And if I make, Mr. President, I would like to also extend my admiration and appreciation to Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, and every member of our task force that worked around the clock to develop these recommendations for opening up America. I know every American is grateful for your leadership and for theirs. Deborah?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR:  Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice president. We are to go through these quickly, because I know that you have them and many of you have already spoken to them on television.

Next slide please. This is an important slide. It talks about the gatekeeping, on the gatekeeping criteria to moving into phase one. It`s very much related to what we just saw about influenza-like illness. And the United States has been tracking influenza-like illnesses through the Center of Disease Control for years. Both state and public health officials are used to watching this, county health officials are used to watching it, and frankly, every family around the United States knows how to access this on the CDC website in order to get up-to-date information to the communities.

It also looks at syndromic emergency room type visits, again, housed at the CDC, and really is our surveillance program that can be utilized for a lot of different illnesses, but in this case will be utilized for respiratory diseases.

In addition, we are tracking the number of cases, and it must have a downward trajectory for 14 days as well as the influenza-like illness and the syndromic illness, and a downward trajectory in the number of positive tests with persistence of high levels of testing.

For the hospitals, it`s to ensure that we can treat all patients without resorting to any crisis care, and ensuring that there is a robust testing program in place for at risk health care workers, including front line responders with emerging antibody tests.

Next slide. Just to show you what this looks like. So what the CDC did for me under the direction of Bob Redfield was to chart what the syndromic illnesses we are reporting throughout the early part of March. And you can see in New Orleans, respiratory diseases were starting to be seen in the emergency room, that is the red line.

The cases are shown in the dark blue line, the gray mountain is testing, and underneath that is the blue mountain of positives. And you can see that the early alert was present from the emergency room about early respiratory disease. You can see it predated the cases. So throughout the summer, when we do not have flu to contaminate this picture, we`ll be able to follow the syndromic pattern city by city, county by county, community by community, state by state.

Next slide. In addition, the CDC has the influenza-like net illness distributed throughout the United States, very useful in the winter time. That first peak is influenza b in the red, that`s this season. I showed you all the seasons here so you could see the seasons as they are displayed. The first peak is influenza b, second peak influenza a, and then you can see the coronavirus. And you can see its decline, and it`s declining towards baseline. This will allow us, again, city by city, community by community, state by state, to look for variations in early response mode in those localities that I described.

Next slide. So hopefully you see that we brought CDC and their amazing talented individuals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all of their abilities to this response and also to the surveillance that we need in this response. But I want to call your attention to the third bullet on this graphic. So we are tracking those two pieces that I described. But the third bullet is about setting up sentinel surveillance sites to be able to distinguish and find asymptomatic individuals, individuals that you have heard about that may be either pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic throughout their entire disease course. We want to be able to find them in communities of particular vulnerability. So we`ll be doing sentinel surveillance throughout nursing homes, throughout inner-city federal clinics, throughout indigenous populations, to really be able to find early alerts of asymptomatic individuals in the community, and both for the syndromic cases that are tested, the influenza-like cases, and the asymptomatic cases, doing contract tracing, again, with support from the Centers for Disease Control working with each state and local government.

In addition, we want to make sure that all the health care facilities have adequate protective -- personal protective devices, and the equipment to handle the surge, and to ensure the ICUs can handle increased capacity. We want every state to have a plan for the health and safety of its workers in critical industries, and to protect the health and safety of those living in high risk facilities, including senior care facilities, as we discussed with sentinel surveillance, but also additional surveillance.

When we talked with all of the states that had not had a major metro outbreak, there sentinel surveillances picked up always the first cases in nursing homes. And so this is very much a big focus of the plan moving forward. I won`t go into the rest of the details on this slide, but there is quite a bit of details on the expectations of every state and local government.

Next slide. You will recognize this slide -- next slide, please. You will recognize this slide. It`s what we have been talking about in the 15 and 30 days to prevent the spread. It`s continuing those critical hand washing or sanitizers, avoiding touching your face at all times, disinfecting surfaces, using face covering while in public, following state and local guidelines, and, critically, staying home if you are sick. I know a lot of people go to the workplace when they are feeling ill. You know when you`re feeling ill. It won`t get better by going to work. So we are asking again for people to stay home when they are sick.

Next slide is for employers, to ensure that there can be social distancing and protective equipment, temperature checks, use of disinfectant in high- traffic areas including breakrooms, and ensuring that we don`t do -- there`s no nonessential business travel, and then monitoring for any symptomatic individuals in the workplace, and again, if you become ill at work, to immediately to go home. And ensure there is contact tracing of all the individuals that become sick.

I`m going to go through the phases very quickly, but you have the details. Phase one, again, you have to go through those gating criteria related to 14 days of decreasing evidence of illness and decreasing testing despite adequate testing. So phase one begins with all vulnerable individuals, including those with comorbidities, continuing to shelter in place and ensuring that those that first go out into the public are not those that are most vulnerable to bad outcomes in this disease, and then ensuring that we continue to do six feet maximum physical distancing in public spaces, continuing to avoid large gatherings, and all nonessential travel.

For the employers -- next slide -- again, if a vulnerable population needs to return to work and cannot be teleworking, there could be special accommodations for all vulnerable populations as well as options for teleworking. We believe every employee should encourage work return in phases from 20 percent or 25 percent to 40 percent to 50 percent, and again, minimize all nonessential travel.

Phase one continued -- next slide. If the schools are already closed, they should remain closed. All visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should continue to be prohibited. Large venues, including sit-down dining, can only be operated under strict physical distancing protocols and maintaining those six feet. Gyms could open if they, again, adhere to strict physical distancing, and elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient basis.

Phase two, next slide. Next slide. Again, you have to go through the criteria, again, of a continuation of another 14-day decline among those criteria is that we`re negating. Again, we are asking all vulnerable individuals shelter in place. We did not put a timeline on any of the phases. We want the governors with the data that they have community by community to be setting up those timelines. Again, we are asking for the public to continue to maximize physical distance, however we increased social settings to be able to now have 50 individuals, and nonessential travel can resume.

Next slide. This is for the employers. We still would like to encourage telework, and the common areas should remain close or be physically distanced. All nonessential travel for employees can resume, and then again special accommodations for vulnerable.

  Next slide. This should be a relief to many households that have small children. Schools, daycares, and camps can reopen in phase two. Visits to senior living facilities, however, should remain in hospitals prohibited. Large venues can operate, but solely under moderate physical distancing, and elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient and inpatient basis.

Phase three. And so phase three I won`t go through in detail, which is essentially returning to our new normal with all of what we talked about through all phases, continuing the good hygiene practices, continuing the respect for spaces between individuals, because we know that we still have an issue with asymptomatic spread. I do believe with this plan that we are both confronting the issue of finding symptomatic individuals through our networks with early alerts as well as those who come and present to different hospitals and emergency room with testing and contact tracing, but critically have put in place what we believe is a safety net through asymptomatic sentinel surveillance that is centered around our most vulnerable groups, between nursing homes and Native-American people and indigenous populations, and our inner-city groups that we know may be in multi-generational households and have unique risks.

I`ll stop there, Mr. President.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES:  Thank you very much, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President.

So as you`ve seen just now from the detailed presentations from Dr. Birx, this is a rather robust program for reentering into normality. There`s a lot of details here, and I know it will take a little bit of time to digest them all. So I thought would be good since I really want to be brief to allow time for questions is to take us back to the discussions that we`ve had here before and why this is a natural evolution from what we had said before.

You might recall that on a few occasions, when I was up here before you, I told you when we get to the point where we are going to take those steps towards trying to get back to some form of normality, that it would not be a light switch that you could turn on and off. I meant that in two different components. First of all, that we are a very large country, and we have different dynamics in the country. We have areas of the country that have gone through a terrible ordeal, and others that, fortunately, have gone and gotten through this rather lightly. So that`s the first thing.

The second thing is that light switch on and off is the exact opposite of what you see here, which is a gradual gradation, with the first thing and the only thing in mind as the health people here, my colleagues who are either physicians, scientists, or public health issues, the predominant and completely driving element that we put into this was the safety and the health of the American public.

And I know this a lot of other considerations that go into opening, considerations that you`ve heard of right from this podium. But the dominating drive of this was to make sure this is done in the safest way possible.

So let me just make a couple of comments to just reiterate more from a broader standpoint the things that Dr. Birx did so well in very granular detail. First of all, in order to even consider getting into the phasing, you have to pass a hurdle, and that is the hurdle we referred to as gating in. Now, when you think about it and look at the map of the country and look at the differences in different parts of the country, you will see that there are some regions, states, locations that are going to be almost already into some of that gating and will have already fulfilled some of those criteria. Others, because of the dynamics of the outbreak in the area, will take longer to be able to do that. But you don`t get to phase one until you get through the gating.

And then in order to make sure that safety and health is the dominant issue, the design of the phases were just that. You go into phase one. If you get no rebound and you satisfy the gating for yet again a second time, then you go to phase two. If you have no rebound and you satisfy the gating criteria for a third time, you go into phase three. So there are multiple checkpoints of safety there.

So as I`ve said from this podium when we were talking about the first 15 days of the mitigation and then we extend that another 30 days, I essentially pleaded with the American public to say let us make sure we do the best that we can to accomplish that. And in fact, mitigation works. You saw the chart that the vice president and that Dr. Birx put up. It worked.

And what we hope, and I believe we will be successful, if we carefully do this, again, with the attention to the safety and health of the American public, that we will be able to -- it will be staggered. Not every state, not every region is going to do it at the same time, that`s clearly obvious because of the very dynamics of the outbreak. But we feel confident that sooner or later we will get to the point, hopefully sooner, with safety as the most important thing, to a point where we can get back to some form of normality.

The one thing I liked about it that Dr. Birx said so well is that no matter what phase you are in, there are certain fundamental things that we have done that are not like it was in September and October. You want to call the new normal, you can call it whatever you want, but even if you are in phase one, two, three, it`s not OK, game over. It`s not. It`s going to be a way that we protect ourselves, because, as we know, and as I have said from this podium, it may very well be, as we go the cycle around, that there will be this virus that wants to come back to us. I think we are going to be able to handle that. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dr. Fauci, I assume there is also a phase four, which is after a vaccine is developed and available to everybody. So the question on phase three being the new normal, are we during that phase going to be able to see things like packed arenas for sporting events, large crowds, concerts?

FAUCI:  The answer is, it is conceivable we will be able to do that. I think there will always have to be attention to making sure that we don`t do all that packing in together. I think we will be able to have sports events in that phase where you actually have participants there. I`m not sure you`re going to be able to do that uniformly and evenly temporally with everyone, but when people get to that phase, paying attention to the fact that if there is a rebound of any sort, that when you are in that phase can you can respond to that, or you put it back and you go the other way. So the flexibility is that there may be some setbacks. Let`s face it. This is uncharted water, there may be some setbacks that we may have to pull back a little and then go forward.

But John, the direct answer to your question, I do see us getting more towards normal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, if you take a look at the gating criteria as outlined in these guidelines, there are at least a handful of states, I just looked at the trend lines -- Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Montana, that look like they have already satisfied that gating criteria. In your call with the governors this afternoon, did you hear back from any states who said we are already there, we can start the process?

TRUMP:  I did. I heard from a number of governors that said they were in very good shape. I also heard not only from the call but I heard from some of the governors previous, and I think you have some very good things to report over the next few days about states opening up.

And I think, John, having to do with your call on sports, depending on the area, depending on what we are talking about, you`re going to have large areas of our country where this has not been or has totally been eradicated, you`ll be able to have those full arena.

Now, with everything being said, a lot of great work has been done on vaccines, but you have a testing process. Therapeutics, likewise, we have a lot of great things happening therapeutically that will be a step further. But in terms of sports, they`ll probably start off -- as you know, I spoke to the commissioners yesterday, almost, I guess, of every sport, and many of them are going to be starting without the fans, so it will be made for television, the good old days, made for television, and it will go that way, and then fans will start coming in, maybe they will be separated by two seats. And then ultimately, we want to have packed arenas. When the virus is gone, we are going to have packed arenas, and we`re going to be back to enjoying sports the way they`re supposed to be. And the same can be said for restaurants. So at a certain point in time, when the virus is gone, we`re going to be back to normal.

Please, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, and the doctors, Can you clarify, then, is the 30-day period it to the spread, are those mitigation efforts still in place, or have they been replaced by this new guidance?

TRUMP:  Well, they are going to be in place to a large extent, and it also depends on the governors, what they want to do. You have very different states. If you look at Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, that`s a lot different than New York. It`s a lot different than New Jersey. So it`s going to be very dependent on the governor. We are recommending, as you see in the charts, we are recommending certain things. They`ll be in place dependent on what the governor wants to do. If we see something wrong, we will be expressing ourselves very strongly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you, Mr. President. Does this mean that states such as Montana and Utah that are already meeting that gating period, will they be able to go do phase one as early as, say, tomorrow, if the governor decides?

TRUMP:  You`re talking about those states that are in great shape already?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.

TRUMP:  They will be able to go in literally tomorrow, yes, because they have met all of the guidelines if you go back. You`re going back 14 days, you`re going back even a month, and they have -- the ones that I`m thinking about, the ones that I have already spoken to governors about, they have met those guidelines actually pretty long ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, what is your message to the protesters we`re seeing, we saw a lot in Michigan, but in other states, that are saying that they are refusing to comply with the stay-at-home orders issued by governors and local officials? Isn`t it important for everybody to go along with this as we go through these phases?

TRUMP:  They`ve been going through it a long time, John, and it`s been a tough process for people. I told you, there is death and there`s problems in staying at home too, it`s not just so wonderful to stay at home. They are suffering. This country wasn`t built on that principle, it was built on an exact opposite principle, actually. And I watched in one particular state where they were -- they want to get back, they want to get back. They were very strict sanctions that were put on people, that was probably the most strict of all.

But I just think the American people have been incredible. When you look at, John, when you look at what they have done, when you look at what they`ve been through, when you look at all of the death and all of the problems and all of the sickness, when you look at what has happened, I just think the American people have been incredible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Will you urge those protestors to listen to local authorities?

TRUMP:  I think they`re listening. I think they listened to me. They seem to be protesters that like me and respect of this opinion, and my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors. They all want to open. Nobody wants to stay shut, but they want to open safely, and so do I. But we have large sections of the country right now that can start thinking about opening. They`ll be some mitigation, and they will keep it going for a period of time, including masks, by the way, in areas that you wouldn`t even think.

I asked a question today. I said, why would they wear masks in Wyoming or Montana or North Dakota? And that`s if somebody should come in from an area that isn`t so successful in terms of what they have done. So that will be a governor`s choice, and we will have no problem with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, you spoke this afternoon with your new congressional advisory groups, 32 bipartisan members of the House, 65 bipartisan members of the Senate. One of the big topics was the fact that the Small Business Association loan -- $350 billion -- has it that cap, it`s exhausted, there`s nothing moving on the $250 billion to replenish it. What did you tell those bipartisan groups today about getting the move on to get some more money into the hands of small businesses?

TRUMP:  Just for the viewers watching this or hearing you ask that question -- exhausted is a good thing, not a bad thing. It went quickly, it is so popular. The banks have been incredible, including 4,000 community banks -- 4,000. Most people didn`t know you had that many banks, 4,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They need a lot, though.

TRUMP:  What they want is people want to keep this going. And we`re doing it to keep the small businesses open and to keep the workers paid. And we have a $250 billion request. The Democrats like it, the Republicans love it. And to be honest, I think something is going to be happening. I hope so, because it`s a very popular program. It was executed flawlessly. The first day they change an application a little bit, but when you look at what Bank of America did and what Wells Fargo did and Citi and a lot of the banks, but when you look at what all of the community banks did, it`s been really incredible.

We are negotiating with Democrats, and they should, frankly, approve it quickly. It`s a great thing for our country, it`s a great thing for small business and for the workers. And we are having a hard time getting them to approve it. I think it`s going to happen. It should happen unanimously, but they are trying to get things, and we`re not too happy with what they are trying to get.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First, can you say which states specifically you guys think have hit the gating requirements? 

TRUMP:  I would rather not say that, but you will be seeing it very soon. I would rather have the governor be able, the governors be able to announce - - and they are very proud of it. They worked hard. Some are in an area that`s less susceptible, and some really was done, I think we can say, through talent. They really worked very hard. And we have some states that got too much credit for what they have done, frankly. I could name you a couple of those, too, and I could name you a couple of them. And we have others that haven`t been given credit that have done a phenomenal job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Part of the guidance seems to shift to states and companies, the burden not just of additional testing and surveillance, but also this new normal in which there are smaller crowds and restaurants and bars --

TRUMP:  That`s not going to be normal. There is not going to be a new normal where somebody is having for 25 years 158 seats in a restaurant and now he`s got 30 or he`s got 60, because that wouldn`t work. That`s not normal. Normal will be is if he has the 158 seats or 68 seats. And that is going to happen, and it`s going to happen relatively quickly, we hope. But that`s our normal. Our normal is if you have a 100,000 people in an Alabama football game or 110,000, to be exact, we want under 110,000 people, we want every seat occupied. Normal is not going to be where you have a game with 50,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  To that point, the best-case scenario that happens in these states are doing well in a month, obviously, for I think a lot other states, it`s going to be longer than that. So my question is what is the federal government going to do to help especially companies but states and local governments in those positions to pay for what is now going to be an even longer --

TRUMP:  We are going to be watching over. We`re going to see that everything is working smoothly. We are in very strong communication with the governors. We`re going to be helping the testing. They`re going to be doing the testing. It`s got to be a localized thing. And it really has been since I have been involved, because I came in and the federal government is supposed to do testing and parking lots in the middle of a certain state that`s 2,000 miles away. It`s ridiculous.

But the testing have been incredible -- two things, testing and ventilators. Ventilators are really tough. They are very complex, they`re very expensive. They are very sophisticated machines. Some are unbelievably sophisticated. We built -- you saw General Motors yesterday, thousands are being issued. We have 11 companies building them. We have not had one complaint in the last week and a half, which is surge time. Don`t forget, when they were calling, they were calling because in two weeks and four weeks and five weeks, they are going to be need ventilators. Not because they need them right now. And we were right on our counts. And nobody that wanted the ventilator didn`t get a ventilator. Plus we have additional, if there is a surge, we hope there`s not going to be a surge at all, but we are going to be able to build up the stockpiles of states who didn`t have them who should`ve had them, and we are going to have a big stockpile in the federal government.

And we`ll be able to help foreign countries, countries that need help, because, look, you have countries that will never be able to build a ventilator. It`s tough stuff. We are uniquely talented in the sense that we can do things that nobody else can do.

We`ll get right back to you. Peter, in the back. Peter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thanks. You said you didn`t want to name the states that might be ready to go. Can you give us some, or maybe the experts, Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, give us some sense how many yesterday, you said 29 states were in good shape? Do you think as many as --

TRUMP:  I think 29 states are in that ballgame, not open, not for opening, but I think they`ll be able to open relatively soon. I think the remainder are just getting better. Look, New York, New Jersey, are having very tough times, and they will be there. They will be there at some point, but they`re not going to be one of the earlier states. they`re going to be later, obviously.

I just spoke with the governor of New Jersey, we just spoke with Mike and a couple of folks, we had a great talk with him. Phil is a terrific guy, he`s working very hard, Democrat, but we get along. He`s working very, very hard. I guess the fact that he is right next to this big massive city where everybody is very closely together, and New Jersey has been hit unbelievably hard. As hard as anybody in the true sense. But they`re doling a great job in New Jersey.

That doesn`t mean, Peter, that doesn`t mean that they are going to be opening next week. That`s not on that`s going to be -- but we have a lot of states that through location, through luck, and also through a lot of talent, we have states through a lot of talent are in a very good position, and they`re getting ready to open. And over the next very short period of time, it`s going to be up to the governors. We are going to work with them, we`re going to help them. But it`s going to be up to the governors.

I think you`re going to see quite a few states starting to open, and I call it a beautiful puzzle. You have 50 pieces, all very different. But when it`s all done, it`s a mosaic. When it`s all done, it`s going to be I think a very beautiful picture.

And very important as what Dr. Fauci said. It could be that sometime in the fall, there will be some flareups.

 

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