President Donald Trump addressed the nation Wednesday, March 11 to reassure Americans that everything is being done to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and to make sure those who become infected will be taken care of medically and financially. First up on the agenda is restricting travel from Europe to the United States. Beginning Friday, March 13, transit will be prohibited for 30 days.
Trump said the “sweeping” travel restrictions placed on China at the onset of the outbreak helped stem the spread significantly, and that now it is time to do the same for Europe, which has some of the highest numbers of occurrences. “This is the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years,” the president said.
“We must put politics aside,” the commander in chief urged. “Each of us have a role to play in defeating this virus.”
Much of the speech reiterated actions already taken by the White House such as the payroll tax relief initiative, as well as the $8.3 billion funding bill that will help fight against the virus and fund vaccine research. Currently, the White House is working on ways to make sure the American people do not suffer financially if they are impacted by Covid-19. Working with health insurance companies, the president is trying to get all co-payments waived for visits concerning the virus. Trump also mentioned financial relief for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others who have the virus.
For businesses, the president has asked the Small Business Administration to provide capital to those struggling due to lack of customers and sick employees. He said these companies should be provided low interest loans and he will be asking Congress to furnish an additional $50 million to support the program. The president said he would take “emergency” action to extend the April 15 tax deadline as well, although he didn’t indicate how long the extension would be or when it would be confirmed.
For “the mass majority of Americans, the risk is very, very low,” Trump announced. However, precautions should still be taken, and the president urged people to use common sense: “Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.”
For some of the harder hit areas, the Trump administration has already talked to government leaders to help them put into place actions to stop the spread of the virus. Democratic Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State has already adhered to some of those suggestions and has banned all social gatherings of 250 or more people. Schools across the state are closed, hospitals and nursing homes are not allowing outside visitors, and cruise ships have suspended their voyages.
The president ended the ten-plus minute speech by reassuring the nation that the economy is still the strongest in the world and that the United States has the best medical professionals and technology of any other nation. All the necessary precautions are being taken, he assured, and the billions of dollars he plans to dump into the economy will aid in removing the viral threat while making sure the country’s financial market grows and remains strong.
Read more by Kelli Ballard.