After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening.
In his address, the president made several notable points and announcements:
- The United States will be suspending travel from Europe for the next 30 days, beginning on Friday at midnight. The suspension does not apply to the United Kingdom, and exemptions will be made for Americans who have “undergone appropriate screenings.”
- Several health insurance providers have “agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.”
- The president asked the Small Business Administration to begin providing low-interest loans to small businesses affected by the disruptions of the pandemic. He is also asking Congress to increase funding for the program by $50 billion.
- The Treasury Department will “defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted,” which is supposed to “provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy.”
- Trump said he is also “calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief.”
Last week, the president signed a bill that approved an additional $7.8 billion of spending to address the outbreak.
Trump also encouraged everyone to take extra hygiene precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
“Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus,” said Trump. “Wash your hands, clean often-used surfaces, cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and most of all, if you are sick or not feeling well, stay home.”
The official transcript of the address can be found here.
Governor Greg Abbott will be holding a press conference tomorrow at noon with state health officials to provide an update on Texas’ efforts to combat the Wuhan Virus.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.