Trump announces milestone for coronavirus testing, says impending PPP stimulus deal

Trump announces milestone for coronavirus testing, says impending PPP stimulus deal

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President Trump announced on Sunday that the United States has taken a major step in coronavirus testing, telling reporters that 4.18 million Americans have now been screened – more than France, the United Kingdom, Korea South, Japan, Singapore, India, Austria, Australia, Sweden and Canada combined.

Speaking at the daily White House coronavirus briefing, the president unpacked a swab test kit and touted new test technologies that could fight the pandemic, even though he warned that some states “don’t know where they are”.

Trump then read at length from a piece in the Wall Street Journal congratulating him on the establishment of new partnerships with the private sector, and “invigorating the American way of acting, when reluctantly aroused”.

“It was difficult to bring it about, and it difficult to arouse, but we sparked it, “Trump commented.

President also stressed that Bret News of Fox News observed that the February 19 Democrats’ presidential debate had made no mention of the coronavirus. The rhetoric on the coronavirus of Democrats, Republicans and the media has radically changed since January.

Separately, Trump said the Republicans had “very good negotiations” with the Democrats on increasing funding under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and could have a deal as early as Monday. The stimulus law created a $ 350 billion fund for small businesses that ran out last Thursday.

“We are looking to help hospitals, rural hospitals as part of the package,” said Trump. “We may have an answer tomorrow.”

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Democrats have delayed the flow of new funds to small businesses. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Justified the delay on Sunday by saying she wanted more funding for tests and hospitals – requests not controversial than even center-left commentators pointed out have never been opposed by Republicans.

President Trump holds a swab that could be used in coronavirus testing at the White House coronavirus briefing on Sunday. (Photo AP / Patrick Semansky)

Earlier today, Trump spoke with the majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., And the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. A source close to the call told Fox News that Mnuchin said the open items were limited to the test portion of the help package.

At the start of the call, McConnell and Mnuchin touted the additional funding for the PPP and reiterated the additional funding from state and local governments and the Democrats’ requests for funding for the also known Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) under the name of food stamps, will not be in the final packaging.

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At the briefing, Trump then touted what he called “bipartisan” efforts that have succeeded in mitigating coronavirus deaths in the country – as well as his January 31 decision to block most trips from China, which Democrats, journalists and some opposing experts at the time.

“We would have caused millions of deaths,” said Trump. “It looks like we will be around 60,000, which is 40,000 less than the lowest number we can think of.”

In a difficult time, CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang repeatedly interrupted the President and argued that he had applied his travel ban on January 31 to China too late. Trump jumped on the issue after the reporter admitted she did not know how many cases of coronavirus were present in the United States at the time of the ban.

Another reporter then asked about Trump supporters waving Nazi flags, apparently referring to a recently demystified viral photography. Asked separately about the news that his former adviser Roger Stone could soon go to jail, Trump criticized what he called “human scum” at the FBI which repeatedly violated surveillance rules to follow his campaign and prosecute criminal charges.

“You are so pathetic at CNN,” said Trump, after reporter Jeremy Diamond pushed Trump over his precedent. praise for the Chinese president in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, shortly after the united states signed a major trade agreement with the country. “That’s why your grades are so bad. You are pathetic. Your grades are terrible. You have to come back to real news!”

Overall, however, the briefing took on an optimistic tone.

“We are now the king of the fans,” said Trump, saying that no American has yet been deprived of a fan who needed it. The United States has sent “a fair amount” of fans to other countries in urgent need, including Mexico, Trump said. Vice President Pence later told reporters that the New Orleans and Denver regions are now stable.

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Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced at the briefing that nursing homes are now accountable to patients and their families, as well as to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], If each household had a case of coronavirus.

The President presented a video showing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, lauding the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, and the “extraordinary mobilization efforts and acts” in which the “federal government intervened and was a great partner. “

“We needed help and they were there,” said Cuomo. “It is an undeniable fact.” Cuomo also said that those who died could not have been saved.

The daily death toll from coronavirus in New York dropped again on Sunday, Cuomo calling him a sign that his condition was “on the other side of the plateau”, saying that the current social distancing practices were helping to stem the spread of the virus. Cuomo said 507 people died on Saturday, 33 less than the previous day and 271 since Monday. Other indicators point in the right direction, said the governor. Hospitalizations decreased by more than 750 to 16,213.

Asked by a reporter about what he would say to the protesters, Trump said, “Some governors have gone too far. Some of the things that have happened may not be so appropriate. I think in the end, it won’t matter, because we’re going to open our states. “

He continued, “I am with everyone.”

Other governors, Republicans and Democrats, have praised Trump in recent weeks for the reaction of the virus. Earlier this month, Governor of California Gavin Newsom, Democrat, told CNN: “Let me be honest with you. I would be lying to you to say that [Trump] did not meet our needs. He has. And so, as a sort of offer of objectivity, I have to acknowledge it publicly. “

Protesters against restrictions issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis in Denver on Sunday. (Photo AP / David Zalubowski)

Protesters against restrictions issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis in Denver on Sunday. (Photo AP / David Zalubowski)

At the Sunday briefing, Trump also learned more important lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and recalled his winning presidential campaign platform from 2016. Over the weekend, the former vice president’s presidential campaign Joe Biden published an advertisement accusing the president of taking a soft stance on China, although Biden and his advisers also had forbidden China.

“If one thing stands out more than anything else, it is that we should be manufacturing in the United States,” said Trump. “I ran on it. I partially ran on it. … I ran on China, and the way they ripped us off.”

“The globalists,” said Trump, had conceived the idea of ​​ceding major US supply chains to China, which the president said would result in a wartime disaster or another disaster.

Trump retaliated, “They will own America, if Joe Biden enters it. Between China, Japan, Mexico, and Canada – they would own America. You would have no more countries if it entered.”

Pedestrians wearing face masks walking through Battery Park on Saturday in New York. (Photo AP / Frank Franklin II)

Pedestrians wearing face masks walking through Battery Park on Saturday in New York. (Photo AP / Frank Franklin II)

Pressure to reopen the economy increased amid soaring job demands. Protesters, concerned about their livelihoods and attacks on their freedom, burst into the streets in some places. A few countries have acted to ease restrictions, but most have remained unified, insisting that it is far too early to take more aggressive action.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Democrat, accused Trump of encouraging insubordination and “illegal activity” by inciting demonstrators to break the rules for shelter on the spot.

“To have an American president to encourage people to break the law, I don’t remember any time in America where we saw such a thing,” Inslee told ABC News “” this week. ” dangerous because it can make people ignore things that can actually save their lives. “

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Trump supporters in several states have ignored social distancing and orders to stay at home, coming together to demand that governors lift control over public activity. Last Wednesday, the largest protest drew thousands of people to Lansing, Michigan, and others held hundreds in several states. The president invoked their rallying cry, calling on several states to “RELEASE”.

Protesters at a protest opposing the Washington State home stay order to slow the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday in Olympia, Washington (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

Protesters at a protest opposing the Washington State home stay order to slow the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday in Olympia, Washington (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

The closings that started in China in late January and spread worldwide have disrupted economic, social, cultural and religious life and plunged the world into a deep economic crisis invisible since the Great Depression. Tens of millions of workers have lost their jobs and millions more fear being next.

The arc of infection being different in each country and in the American states, the proposals differ to deal with the virus which killed more than 165,000 people.

Restrictions have started to ease in some places, notably in Germany, which still applies social distancing rules, but intended Monday to start allowing the reopening of some small stores, such as those selling furniture and furniture. baby items.

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Spanish officials, who applied some of the strictest restrictions in Europe and only exceeded the number of deaths from the virus in the United States and Italy, said the children would be allowed to leave their homes from 27 April. with hundreds of businesses, including small retailers, food and fish factories, farmers and fishing boats.

The death toll in the United States has exceeded 41,000, with more than 746,000 confirmed infections, while the number of cases worldwide has exceeded 2.38 million, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University of national health reports. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said the continent has now seen more than a million confirmed cases and nearly 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

Hillary Vaughn and The Associated Press of Fox Business contributed to this report.

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