Trump Lays Out New Policies for Coronavirus
March 12, 2020 (EIRNS)—President Trump addressed the United States people in a speech made at 9 p.m. eastern on Wednesday night. Trump offered no bailouts to Wall Street, and said nothing about the Fed interest rates—much to the chagrin of Wall Street, as seen in the further collapse of the markets on Thursday. Specific measures taken by Trump include the following:
• After contrasting the low number of (confirmed) cases of COVID-19 in the United States with the significantly higher level in Europe, Trump announced that as of midnight on Friday, foreign nationals (with some exceptions) who have been within the Schengen Area within the last 14 days will be denied entry to the United States.
• The travel restrictions regarding China and South Korea will be re-assessed, and possibly lifted.
• Insurers will not charge co-pays for coronavirus testing, and coronavirus treatments will be covered by all insurance plans. (Testing has no co-pay, but that is not the case for treatment.)
• A Presidential Memorandum authorizes he Secretary of Health and Human Services has been given authority with respect to respirators—HHS has put out an order for 500 million N95 masks to encourage production and let manufacturers know that they’re guaranteed a large order.
• A call to Congress to increase by $50 billion the funding of the Small Business Administration. Given the economic slowdown that will occur as control measures are put in place to reduce the spread of the virus, low demand will hurt businesses, and they may not be able to take advantage of loans.
• Some tax deadlines may be extended, without penalties or interest.
• A call to Congress for a reduction of payroll tax.
• A call for emergency action to provide financial relief to workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others. “To ensure that working Americans impacted by the virus can stay home without fear of financial hardship, I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented, to provide financial relief. This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus. I will be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend this relief.”
• Urging nursing homes to suspend any non-medical visits
• Wash your hands!
During a Thursday morning White House joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Ireland—who informed the reporters present about Ireland’s prohibitions on large public gatherings—Trump was asked whether he was going to declare a national emergency. He replied that he is considering taking that step, but was not yet prepared to do so. Another question was about “travel restrictions within the United States, such as to Washington State or California.” Trump replied: “Is it a possibility? Yes.... You see what they’re doing now in New Rochelle [in New York State], which is good, frankly. It’s the right thing, but it’s not enforced.”