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Trump Declares National Emergency Over Coronavirus Pandemic

Caitlyn Clancey 13 Mar 2020

President Donald Trump has just announced a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the POTUS declared an emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, more commonly known as the Stafford Act, which will allow for more federal aid.

There are currently 1,701 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US and 40 deaths.

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In an effort to combat the outbreak, several states have taken preventative steps, including banning large gatherings, sporting events, and also closing schools.

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On Friday morning, Trump tweeted that he would be holding a news conference that afternoon about the coronavirus.

Although no further information was given at that time, Bloomberg, citing two "people familiar with the matter", reported that the president would, in fact, be declaring a national emergency during that conference.

Declaring a national emergency frees up around $42 billion of federal government aid for states and cities. This also allows states to request a 75% federal cost-share for coronavirus-related expenses, such as emergency workers, medical tests, medical supplies, and security for medical facilities.

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Trump has now officially declared a national emergency.

"To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency," he announced to press in the White House Rose Garden. "No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever."

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The president also outlined several new partnerships the administration has established to best combat the pandemic.

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These include partnerships with private industry to expand testing capabilities, as well as with pharmacies and private entities to set up drive-thru testing facilities.

Trump also said the administration is working with Google in order to establish a coronavirus testing website to allow people to input their symptoms and be told whether they need testing or not.

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Trump is urging Americans to only pursue coronavirus testing if absolutely necessary.

"Again, we don't want everybody taking this test," he said. "It's totally unnecessary. And this will pass. This will pass through, and we're going to be even stronger for it."

"All Americans have a role to play in defeating this virus," Trump continued. "Our most effective weapon right now is to limit the damage to our people and our country, and slow the spread of the virus itself."

"The choices we make, the precautions we put into place, are critical to overcoming the virus, reducing its spread, and shortening the duration of the pandemic, which is what is is."

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The declaration is a turning point for the president who has, up until this point, significantly downplayed the coronavirus now declared a pandemic by the WHO.

Trump has previously likened the virus to seasonal flu, and insisted his administration has the outbreak under control.

“From the beginning of time, nations and people have faced unforeseen challenges, including large-scale and very dangerous health threats,” he said in a formal Oval Office address on Wednesday. “This is the way it always was and always will be. It only matters how you respond, and we are responding with great speed and professionalism.”

h/t: YouTube | Global News

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