President Trump/ Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA
President Donald Trump officially declared a national emergency, which he said would provide $50 billion in federal funds to combat the spread of the coronavirus throughout the United States, according to NBC News.
In Trump’s live announcement, he also granted Alex Azar, a new health secretary, broad authority to waive regulations, allowing doctors to respond more flexibly to the challenges presented by the virus. This includes novel protocols to treat patients remotely.
“I am officially declaring a national emergency, two very big words,” Trump said. “I’m urging every state to set up emergency operations centers effective immediately.”
According to the Washington Post, these comments mark the first time the president has discussed the issue of COVID-19 as a threat within the country’s borders, rather than something that could be kept out with travel restrictions. Amidst accusations of downplaying the rapidly escalating disease, Trump expanded upon his administration’s plans to handle the pandemic.
Trump’s primary initiative was focused on supplementing the number of COVID-19 testing kits available in hospitals. He stressed that millions of kits would become accessible, but that he didn’t think they would be needed.
“This will pass, this will pass through, and we will be even stronger for it,” Trump said.