President Donald Trump Announces Declaration of National Emergency
By CBS News
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
President Trump declared a national emergency to address the coronavirus, he announced during a Rose Garden press conference on Friday afternoon. The announcement comes just before markets close for the week, and as his administration attempts to take more aggressive steps to address the escalating coronavirus crisis.
"To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency," the president announced as he stood alongside top administration officials and company CEOs he met with earlier.
The president is likely to invoke the Stafford Act, enabling him to increase funding for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) efforts, although the president did not explicitly mention the Stafford Act. On another note, the president announced he's waived all interest on federal student loans for the time being.
"No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever," the president told reporters.
The administration has established a new partnership with private industry to expand testing capabilities, even as the administration faces criticism over a lack of tests for health facilities that need them, the president said. Mr. Trump also announced the administration is also trying to work with pharmacies and private entities to establish drive-thru testing sites, something his own Centers for Disease Control head Robert Redfield said only days earlier wasn't necessary.
The administration is also working with Google to establish a coronavirus testing website to help doctors and patients assess their risk and where they can receive a test. Dr. Deborah Birx, a lead point person on the coronavirus task force, said they want to bring that guidance to the entire country.
The president handed the microphone over to CEOs on stage, including the heads of Target, Walmart, CEO and Quest Diagnostics, to say what they're doing to address the need for testing and relevant coronavirus health care.
As the virus spreads, American life is being altered by cancellations, postponements and closures.
The president's last televised appearance was on Wednesday, when he gave an Oval Office address to the nation that resulted in confusion. He announced European travel restrictions and mistakenly announced trade restrictions.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst day since 1987 and trading was halted briefly as markets plunged. On Friday, Wall Street regained its footing.
There were more than 1,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Trump administration still can't say exactly how many people have been tested for the virus.
Amid the outbreak, Disney World is closing. Broadway is shutting its doors. Schools are closing and large gatherings are being banned. The Boston Marathon and the Masters Tournament are now postponed, according to announcements made Friday.
CBS News' Fin Gomez and Weijia Jiang contributed to this report. This story was originally published by CBS News on March 13, 2020 at 3:57 p.m. ET.