WATCH: White House Gives Coronavirus Update As FEMA Takes Bigger Role
President Trump is set to speak with governors on Thursday from the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as states work out what they need to be able to care for what is expected to be a wave of people needing treatment for the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
FEMA is accustomed to responding when natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes overwhelm local resources, but the scope and scale of the coronavirus pandemic presents huge logistical challenges.
The president told reporters he would provide an update on the White House response before he heads to FEMA.
Trump is under pressure to show that his administration has the situation in hand as Americans have seen their day-to-day lives dramatically changed. Schools are closed, people are heeding warnings to stay away from others, and many have lost their income as the economy is shocked into a stop.
On Wednesday morning, Trump said he would have exciting news to share from the Food and Drug Administration. But he later said he had to postpone his announcement and would discuss it on Thursday. It was not clear what the FDA news would concern or whether it would come to pass.
As of Thursday morning, more than 9,000 people have been confirmed with the virus in the United States, and 150 people have died.
Meanwhile, Trump’s administration is negotiating with Congress on a new package of aid to help people and businesses through the huge economic losses from the crisis. It will be the third round of aid in two months. Trump signed the second package into law Wednesday night.
But the virus is making it hard for lawmakers to do their work. On Wednesday evening, two congressmen said they had tested positive for the virus, and others who had met with them — including Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House — said they would self-quarantine, to be safe.
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