After the US surpassed both Italy and China in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the White House held a press conference on March 26 to update American citizens.
President Trump stated on Friday that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tests from Abbott Labs, which could greatly speed up testing results from 72 hours to “as little as five minutes.” Abbott Labs gained FDA approval of this drastically quicker test in around four weeks, a process that would normally take around ten months. On the week of Mar. 30, Abbott labs began delivering 50,000 tests per day across the US.
The President also celebrated various organizations like FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers, who quickly built hospitals in building spaces in the state of New York and will continue to do so in states all over the country, aiding in efforts to treat coronavirus cases. Trump noted that the FDA is in the beginning stages of determining if the mask sterilization is possible; this would be invaluable for the doctors and nurses on the front lines lacking proper protective gear against the virus.
Furthermore, Trump stated that around 100,000 people in New York have been given doses of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in the past two days. Steven Hanh, the head of the FDA, gave approval for this experimentation, as well as the use of convalescent plasma on seriously ill patients, in an attempt to develop an effective treatment for COVID-19. The latter method involves taking plasma from recovered patients and transfusing it into the extremely ill patients, to introduce COVID-19 fighting antibodies that would fight and cure them of the virus. Both of these methods are currently in the experimentation stage and are not approved for use nationwide.
President Trump also declared national social distancing guidelines will be extended for another 30 days. These guidelines urge all Americans to avoid gathering in groups larger than ten and ask elderly people to remain home. When asked about his previous comments about opening up the country by Easter, Trump said it was an “aspirational” goal. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert of pandemic response and the longtime head of the NIAID, stated that it is “entirely conceivable” that a million US citizens could be infected by COVID-19. However, Fauci believes that drastic measures taken to avoid more rapid contraction would reduce the total number of cases in the long run.
Trump acknowledged the spread of coronavirus has not slowed, as of now, and models show the peak death rate will occur in two weeks.
“We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1st. A lot of great things will be happening,” Trump said. “I want our life back again.”
(Sources: CNN, YouTube)