Speaking from the Oval Office Wednesday night, President Donald Trump delivered a televised speech to the nation on the coronavirus pandemic. With more than 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States, and the death toll rising above 35 as of Thursday morning, Trump laid out his administration's response to the virus, which includes a 30-day travel ban for those who have traveled to 26 European countries.
"My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak with you about our nation's unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak that started in China and is now spreading throughout the world," Trump began. "Today, the World Health Organization officially announced that this is a global pandemic. We have been in frequent contact with our allies, and we are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people."
Stating that "this is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history," the president went on to assure Americans that he is "confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus."
Trump then went on to explain the measures that have already been taken – "sweeping travel restrictions on China," "the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years," and the declaration of "a public health emergency and issued the highest level of travel warning on other countries" – before detailing what further "strong but necessary actions" would be taken to ensure the safety of Americans.
"To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days," he announced, explaining that the travel ban would go into effect Friday at midnight and that "there will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings."
He added that the outbreak and response in China and South Korea, two of the most heavily impacted areas, are being monitored and that "we will re-evaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening."
Trump also announced that "the leaders of health insurance industry" have "agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing."
He added that "signed into law an $8.3 billion funding bill to help C.D.C. and other government agencies fight the virus and support vaccines, treatments and distribution of medical supplies."0comments
Trump also encouraged nursing homes to limit or suspend the number of visitors, as the elderly and those with underlying health issues are the most at risk. He laid out several other measures as well.
"We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation and one family," he concluded in part. "As history has proven time and time again, Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity."