President Donald Trump brushed off concerns about the limited number of coronavirus test kits during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and announced during a chaotic press conference that ‘anybody who wants a test can get a test.’
He left officials scrambling to explain how such a commitment could happen after free-wheeling press availability where he publicly disagreed with his own government’s approach to the cruise ship, referenced impeachment, asked about TV ratings, and called a Democratic government ‘a snake.’
‘The tests are beautiful,’ Trump added after meeting with top U.S. scientists amid the coronavirus outbreak. ‘Anybody who right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test,’ Trump said.
Trump praised his own administration’s response amid concerns that the million test kits promised had yet to materialize.
- Trump announced during a chaotic press conference that ‘anybody who wants a test can get a test’
- Nineteen crew members and two passengers on board the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus
- The ship will now not dock in San Francisco as planned but will be brought to a ‘non-commercial port’ and all 3,500 people on board will be tested
- Silicon Valley continues to close its doors as major tech hubs of California and Seattle increasingly become virus hotspots
- Apple told all 12,000 employees at its headquarters Apple Park to remain home Friday, following similar guidance from Facebook and Microsoft
- Amazon and Facebook both have employees with the disease in Seattle
- City officials in Austin announced that South by South West festival will be canceled
- Most US cases have been linked to the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland, near Seattle, which nine deaths are linked to
- It emerged that three days before the first cases were confirmed, the facility held a ‘germ-fest’ party meaning the spread could be far wider than thought
‘We’ve done a tremendous job at keeping it down,’ he said. And Trump shared his misgivings about providing on-shore medical treatment to passengers of a Princess cruise liner off the coast of San Francisco. He raised concerns it would spike the numbers of infected Americans.
‘I like the numbers where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship. That wasn’t our fault,’ Trump said.
Nevertheless, he appears to have yielded to top health officials, who announced minutes after the president spoke a plan for dealing with infected crew and passengers aboard the Grand Princess ship moored off San Francisco.
Vice President Mike Pence said out of 46 people swabbed aboard the ship, 21 tested positive. Of those, 19 are crew members. The ship will be brought to an unidentified commercial port where those ‘that need to be quarantined will be quarantined those that require additional medical attention will receive it,’ Pence said.
- A North Carolina company claims it’s created a 15-minuted test for the virus, but the CDC and FDA have not approved it
- A California nurse who tested positive for coronavirus after treating a patient claims the CDC refused to test her
- The CDC has been taking so long to test because there is a three-step process
- It has also come under fire for not approving outside test kits quickly enough
- Passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship are waiting for their test results after they were dropped off by helicopter on Thursday
- In the US, there are around 300 cases and 17 deaths
- Apple told all its workers to stay home
Pence also vouched for Trump when asked if the president had the right mindset for the challenge. The president during his trip to the CDC called Washington State Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee a ‘snake.’ He also appeared to criticize Pence’s approach.
‘Oh I told Mike not to be complimentary … that governor is a snake. I said if you’re nice to him he will take advantage,’ Trump said. ‘We have a lot of problems with the governor, the governor of Washington,’ he said, adding: ‘Mike may be happy with him but I’m not.’
Inslee, who ran for president this year and is overseeing an outbreak in his state, had tweeted last week that he told Pence their work would be more successful if the administration ‘stuck to the science and told the truth.”
Trump submitted to a series of questions from reporters at the CDC, where his comments veered to his appearance Thursday night at a Fox News town hall. He brought up his appearance on ‘a very fine network known as Fox News. How was the show last night? Did it get good ratings, by the way?’ he asked.
Trump, who wore his signature red ‘Make America Great’ hat during the briefing about the response to the potential pandemic, swerved between the coronavirus issue and his political grievances.
‘Anybody that needs a test gets a test…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good,’ he said, referencing his impeachment and his ‘perfect’ phone call to the president of Ukraine where he asked for an investigation of the Bidens.
He also invoked his own uncle, Dr. John Trump, in explaining his aptitude for dealing with the issue. ‘I like this stuff. I really get it,’ Trump said.
‘The general risk to the American public remains low,’ Pence told reporters in the White House briefing room.
‘It is a good time for any American who is elderly … and has a serious underlying health condition to think carefully about travel,’ he said.
Pence said 900,000 tests would be shipped by Saturday and another million would be shipped over the weekend.
President Donald Trump planned to visit the Centers for Disease Control Friday amid the coronavirus outbreak – after abruptly taking the visit off his schedule over a person at the CDC who was being tested for the disease.
Trump told reporters Friday morning the trip got scrapped or postponed because a person at the government facility was being tested for the virus that has now resulted in the deaths of 17 Americans.
But a few hours later, the White House backpedaled on plans and included a flight to Atlanta and the CDC in the president’s official schedule.
Signed: DOnald Trump only asked Congress for just above $2 billion but they rejected that and both houses passed and $8.3 billion spending bill
Trump said earlier the reason for delaying the trip did not have to do with an uproar over a lack of testing kits the administration said would be available.
‘No, no, no. They had one person who was potentially infected and speaking of that, I’d like to go so you guys are trying to work that out,’ Trump told reporters as he signed an $8.3 billion bill to combat the outbreak.
‘I was going to Tennessee first in any event and then I was stopping in Atlanta then going down to Florida for meetings,’ he said. ‘I think that they are trying to work it out that I do go,’ he said. The CDC is located in Atlanta.
‘I heard one person. And because of the one person at a high level because of the one person they didn’t want me going but I would prefer going and now that the person the tests came out negative we’re going to try and go,’ Trump said.
Trump didn’t clarify whether it was the Secret Service, medical personnel, or the CDC itself that encouraged him to scrap his planned trip.
The latest comes as the US death toll hits 17, Maryland announced its first coronavirus cases, and the markets continue to spiral amid uncertainty about the disease.
Three new deaths were recorded in Washington state and Florida recorded its first two deaths on Friday.
New York state also confirmed 11 new cases Friday, taking its total to 44.
‘Most’ of the state’s 44 cases are linked to a Manhattan lawyer who lives in Westchester, said Governor Cuomo.
Meanwhile Maryland announced its first cases; Trump was there on Tuesday to visit the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center and get an update from Dr. Anthony Fauci
Vice President Mike Pence had said during a visit to Washington state on Thursday that the president would sign the bill during a visit to the CDC in Atlanta on Friday.
‘President Trump is expected to sign the legislation tomorrow as he visits the CDC in Atlanta,’ he said.
But when Trump’s schedule was released by the White House late Thursday night, the Atlanta trip was not on it and a senior administration official confirmed to DailyMail.com that the president will not being going there.
‘The President is no longer traveling to Atlanta today. The CDC has been proactive and prepared since the very beginning and the President does not want to interfere with the CDC’s mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency,’ the person said.
President Trump will visit Tennessee on Friday to view the tornado damage there.
The funding measure provides money for public health agencies for tests, vaccines and other treatments. It will also provide money to state and local governments to respond to the epidemic.
The House passed the legislation Wednesday and the Senate did so on Thursday, a rapid response to increased public fears about the disease, which has disrupted schools, airlines, and spring break plans.
The measure more than triples the $2.5 billion amount outlined by the White House last month, which Democrats criticized as too little, too late.
A group of lawmakers from both parties negotiated the increased figure and other provisions in the measure in a rare sign of bipartisanship.
Trump explained the reasons for the cancelled trip, saying ‘because of the one person they didn’t want me going’
Trump spoke before he prepared to visit tornado victims in Tennessee
Meanwhile, the White House is dealing with criticism over the lack of testing kits, which health officials say is hurting their response to detecting who has the coronavirus, which has a 14 day incubation period.
‘We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate the demand going forward,’ Pence said during a visit to a 3M Company plant in Minnesota.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s ‘Today Show’ Friday morning the goal is to have them out in the next few weeks but he conceded he cannot guarantee that.
‘I cannot promise it. But that’s what the goal is, within the next couple of weeks, to get the 1 million-plus as our goal,’ he said.
‘There was certainly some missteps in the beginning regarding gets tests out,’ he noted. ‘Technical issues slowed down the process. Now, the FDA and CDC are working together, both to get test kits out to the health department, as well as to embrace and collaborate with private sector companies to get it out. Although there’s been a delay in the next couple weeks, we should be ratcheted up to get more out.’
The Trump administration is dealing with criticism over a lack of coronavirus testing kids
President Trump, meanwhile, doubled down on his claim that it was President Barack Obama’s fault for the lack of testing kits, a claim that has been debunked.
‘I want to get everybody to understand they made some decisions which were not good decisions. We inherited decisions they made and that’s fine. We undid some of the regulations that made it very difficult,’ he said Thursday night at his Fox News town hall.
Trump, who has occupied the White House for three years, tried to deflect criticism of his administration’s response to the disease by blaming Obama for a federal regulation that made it harder to enact widespread testing – an accusation that has been shown not to be true.
NINETEEN CREW MEMBERS AND TWO PASSENGERS ON STRANDED GRAND PRINCESS CRUISE SHIP TEST POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS
The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii in San Francisco. Twenty-one people on board have tested positive foe the coronavirus
The Grand Princess cruise ship will not dock in San Francisco after 19 crew members and two passengers tested positive for the coronavirus out of the 46 people tested so far.
The ship, with some 3,500 people on board, was ordered to stay at sea on Wednesday evening after several dozen people on board began to show symptoms.
Forty-six people on board were swabbed and 21 of them tested positive, Vice President Mike Pence revealed in a White House press conference Friday.
Twenty-four others tested negative while one test was inconclusive.
The ship has been kept in a holding pattern in the Pacific Ocean off San Francisco for nearly two days and will now move on to a ‘non-commercial port’ where all the passengers and crew will be unloaded and tested.
Friday’s test results come amid evidence the vessel was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of at least ten cases during its previous voyage.
Federal officials have been working with the state and ‘we have developed a plan to bring the ship to a non-commercial port,’ Pence added.
‘All passengers and crew will be tested for the virus. Those that will need to be quarantined will be quarantined. Those who will require medical help will receive it.’
‘The general risk to the American public remains low,’ Pence said but added that elderly Americans and those with pre-existing conditions should use caution, especially when traveling.
On Thursday, a military helicopter crew lowered test kits onto the 951-foot (290-meter) Grand Princess by rope and later retrieved them for analysis as the vessel waited off San Francisco, under orders to keep its distance from shore.
On Friday, President Trump claimed that he would prefer the passengers and crew to remain on the ship so they don’t add to the rising American cases.
‘They would like to have the people come off, I’d rather have the people stay. But I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision,’ he said.
‘I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault. And it wasn’t the fault of the people on the ship either. I can live either way with it.
Vice President Mike Pence announced that 21 people tested positive for the coronavirus on borad the Grand Princess cruise ship docked off San Francisco – 19 crew and two passengers
A California National Guard helicopter brought coronavirus tests to the ship Thursday
‘I’d rather have them stay on, personally. But I fully understand if they want to take them off. I gave them the authority to make the decision.’
The testing began after it was reported that a passenger on a previous voyage of the ship, in February, died of the disease.
A Sacramento-area man who sailed aboard the Grand Princess last month during a visit to a series of Mexican ports later succumbed to the coronavirus, according to California authorities.
In the past few days, health authorities disclosed that at least nine other people who were on the same journey were also found to be infected. And some passengers on that trip stayed aboard for the current voyage.
The only people tested were those who were showing symptoms or who had been on the previous trip.
BLOW FOR WORLD’S BIGGEST TECH FIRMS AS SILICON VALLEY SHUTS ITS DOORS AND SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FESTIVAL IS AXED
Apple has advised all 12,000 employees at its Cupertino headquarters to work from home
The world’s tech giants have been dealt a major blow from the coronavirus crisis as Silicon Valley continues to shut its doors and South by Southwest Festival is cancelled.
On Friday, Apple became the latest Silicon Valley firm to advise its workers to stay away in coronavirus-hit California.
Apple advised all 12,000 employees at its Cupertino headquarters to work from home amid heightened coronavirus concerns as the death toll in the US increased to 17 and the number of confirmed cases rose to more than 250.
In a memo seen by DailyMail.com and issued to all staff at the Santa Clara Valley offices named Apple Park, employees were told that the precaution was being taken following recent guidance from public health officials.
Tech company office closures: How many are affected?
Microsoft: The company has asked its employees in its San Francisco Bay and Seattle HQ offices to work from home if they can do so.
The Seattle campus has 54,000 employees but it is not known how many are in the San Francisco Bay.
Microsoft has more than 80,000 employees across the country.
Facebook: They told employees in its San Francisco Bay offices to stay at home on Friday and cancel all business trips due to the virus.
Facebook already announced on Wednesday it has closed its Seattle office until at least March 9 after a contractor there was discovered to have contracted the virus.
The two offices have an estimated 17,000 employees.
Apple: Advised all 12,000 employees at its Cupertino headquarters to work from home
Amazon: Company gave its more than 50,000 employees in the Washington state region a green light to work remotely after one of its headquarter employees tested positive for coronavirus.
Google: The company is also encouraging workers in Washington state to stay away from offices and work from home.
Staff were advised that offices would remain open but that they were ‘encouraging team members’ to stay away despite only sending the email when many would already be traveling to work.
Apple joined Facebook and Microsoft in introducing new policies to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus this week.
An estimated 83,000 workers are affected by the closures and work-from-home policies within these three companies alone.
Facebook also told employees in its San Francisco Bay offices to stay at home on Friday and cancel all business trips due to the virus. The company is believed to have around 14,000 employees in the Bay Area.
The social network is also cancelling any events in the Bay Area.
Facebook already announced Wednesday night that it has closed its Seattle office after a contractor there was discovered to have contracted the virus. Between the San Francisco and Seattle closures, around 17,000 employee of the company are estimated to be working from home.
The office will be closed until at least Monday, March 9, and the company is encouraging its employees to work from home for the remainder of the month.
Amazon confirmed late Tuesday that one of its employees in Seattle had tested positive for coronavirus after going home sick from work on February 25. An Amazon spokeperson told DailyMail.com: ‘We’re supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine.’
Amazon has more than 50,000 employees in Seattle and more than 275,000 full-time workers across the U.S. Last week, Amazon became one of the first U.S. companies to crack down on employee travel due to the outbreak, banning all ‘non-essential’ work trips.
Meanwhile, Google is asking employees in Washington state who can work from home to do so. It has more than 4,500 employees in Seattle.
Microsoft has already asked its employees in its San Francisco Bay and Seattle HQ offices to work from home if they can do so to restrict the spread of the virus.
The company has over 80,000 employees in the US, 54,000 of whom are based in the Washington state Redmond campus.
The company has committed to continue to pay its workers who are paid by the hour during the outbreak even if they can’t come to work.
Ride-sharing service Lyft said it encouraged its San Francisco staff to work from home for the remainder of the week after it learned one of its employees was in contact with someone who was exposed to COVID-19.
Global employer Twitter this week also told all 5,000 of its workers around the world to work from home because of the outbreak.
There are an estimated 3,000 employees at the Facebook Seattle offices
SXSW 2020 has been canceled by the city of Austin amid concerns over the novel coronavirus. The crowd on 6th street in downtown Austin is seen during the 2015 festival
Meanwhile, officials canceled the South by Southwest festival that was set to take place in Austin, Texas, over coronavirus fears.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said on Friday he was issuing a state of emergency that effectively canceled the event, based on the recommendation of public health officials.
The festival, known as SXSW – set to take place between March 13 and March 22 – brings together the world’s biggest tech firms.
Several major companies including Amazon Studios, Netflix, Facebook and Twitter had already pulled out of the festival.
No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Austin however, more than 50,000 people had signed a petition seeking to get the festival cancelled, amid concerns that it draws an international audience into close quarters, posing a serious threat of contagion.
Many attendees flock from the virus hotspots of California and Seattle.
All told, the economic cost of tech events cancelled due to coronavirus has surpassed $1 billion, according to an estimate from ReCode.
NY GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO BLASTS CDC AND ‘BAD GOVERNMENT’ AS NY CASES RISE TO 44
The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in New York state has risen to 44 as at least 4,000 people have been urged to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the disease.
In a press conference on Friday, Governer Andrew Cuomo said that ‘most’ of the cases are linked to a Manhattan lawyer who tested positive earlier in the week.
There are now 33 cases in Westchester County, five in New York City, four in Nassau County and two in Rockland County.
Details of all the new cases were not immediately clear, but Cuomo said there were ‘a number of young people’ and he suspects ‘they are related to existing cases.
At least five people have been hospitalized across the state.
Cuomo blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Trump administration over their mixed messages regarding coronvirus testing.
Cuomo cited the contradictory statements issued by the federal health agency and Vice President Mike Pence.
‘I don’t understand CDC’s instructions, they say anyone can get tested if they want…but Pence says we don’t have enough tests,’ Cuomo told reporters.
‘How can you bring in more people into the pipeline than you can address at the end of the pipeline?’ he said.
‘That is not only bad government and poor planning, it will increase the fear.’
It comes just hours after Dr Anthony Fauci, a top official at the NIH, said he can’t make any promises about when enough test kits will be made available.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the CDC and Trump administration for sending mixed messages about coronavirus testing in press conference on Friday (pictured)
The CDC says one can get test but the US has admitted it doesn’t have the testing capacity. Cuomo said this will incite fear among the general public because people will not understand why they can’t get tested. Pictured: Cuomo (right) speaks at a press conference on Friday alongside Dr Howard Zucker(keft), Commissioner of Health for New York State
Cuomo argued that people will be fearful because they won’t understand why doctors don’t have the capacity to test them.
‘Their position is absurd and nonsensical,’ the governor said.
‘I think the anxiety and the fear is a bigger problem than the virus.’
Cuomo also lamented that CDC and FDA were slow in approving New York’s use of private labs as well as giving New York State’s Wadsworth Lab And NYC’s Public-Health Lab permission to test for the virus.
His comments came hours after Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the goal in the next few weeks to have more than a million tests ready but that he couldn’t guarantee it.
It echoed comments made by Vice President Mike Pence at a press conference on Thursday admitted that there is a shortage of test kits, which currently cannot meet demand.
‘I can’t guarantee that, that’s an issue that would have to go through the FDA and the companies to see if that’s available,’ Dr Fauci told TODAY.
‘So I cannot promise it but that’s what the goal is – within the next couple of weeks – to get the million plus [out].’
It is believed one of the chemicals used in the test did not work properly, resulting in the test needing to be remanufactured.
Another issue was that the CDC initially set narrow criteria on who could be tested.
At first, only those with a travel history to China – where the outbreak emerged – or those who had been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus patient were tested.
That changed after the first patient of ‘unknown diagnosis’ was confirmed in California, believed to be of so-called community spread.
‘There were certainly some missteps in the beginning regarding getting tests out, some technical issues that slowed down the process,’ Dr Fauci told TODAY.
‘The Vice President was absolutely correct. There has been a delay and we didn’t have enough right now but, hopefully, in the near future hopefully we will.’
The CDC and other health officials have come under fire for how slowly Americans are being tested.
‘I’m not happy about the lack of the appropriate number of test kits – that’s for sure – but other areas of the response, I think, are going well,’ Dr Fauci said.
Heath and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained on Thursday the three steps that stand in the way to broader, faster testing.
He said that even when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself developed a test, it had to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before distributing it.
That request was submitted February 3 and approved February 4. The CDC didn’t start shipping its first batch of tests until February 6.
Dr Fauci said he’s also frustrated at the lack of screenings at US airports.
In a press conference on Monday evening, Pence said there will be 100 percent screening at all airports with direct flights from Italy and South Korea over the next 12 hours.
However, Vice News producer Julia Lindau said she did not undergo any health screenings or additional questioning after landing at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York from Italy on Thursday night.
‘I just landed at JFK after reporting on #coronavirus in Milan and Lombardy – the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak – for @vicenews,’ she tweeted.
‘I walked right through US customs. They didn’t ask me where in Italy I went or if I came into contact with sick people. They didn’t ask me anything.’
US COMPANY SAYS IT CAN TEST FOR CORONAVIRUS IN JUST 15 MINUTES, BUT CDC AND FDA HAVE NOT APPROVED IT
A North Carolina-based company says its 15-minute blood test is already being used by China, Italy and Japan to test for coronavirus but not in America because CDC and FDA officials have not approved it.
BioMedonics claims its test can screen for the virus in 15 minutes using a small drop of blood and a tiny device that can be carried into the field.
A blood sample is collected, inserted into the reader, a buffer is combined, and results come back very quickly, the company claims.
BioMedomics claims its test can screen for coronavirus in 15 minutes using a small drop of blood and a tiny device that can be carried into the field
It can be read similarly to a pregnancy test, with one line for a negative test, two signifying it’s positive for either early or late antibodies, and three when the sample is positive for both
One line means negative while two lines spread out mean the sample contains antibodies that the body starts making shortly after infection.
Two lines close together mean the person is positive for later-stage antibodies, and three lines mean the patient is positive for both types of antibodies.
The CDC and FDA have not specified why the rapid test isn’t being used and did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS BLAST CDC OVER LACK OF TESTING FOR DOCTORS AND NURSE
Medical professionals have blasted the CDC over the lack of testing for healthcare workers at the frontline of the outbreak.
One California nurse said they fell ill after caring for a patient but that federal health officials believed they wouldn’t contract the virus due to their protective clothing while treating the patient.
And a California doctor at another hospital said they’re worried about transferring the virus to immuncompromised patients.
The CDC has previously stated that people with underlying health conditions are twice as likely to develop serious outcomes as healthy people.
The nurse who fell ill is an employee of Kaiser Permanente in the northern part of the state and currently in quarantine.
‘As a nurse, I’m very concerned that not enough is being done to stop the spread of the coronavirus,’ they wrote in a statement released via the National Nurses United and California Nurses Association unions on Thursday.
‘I know because I am currently sick and in quarantine after caring for a patient who tested positive.’
The nurse said he or she volunteered to care for the patient and, within a few days, began experiencing symptoms themselves of coughing and a fever.
They were put in a 14-day quarantine, and the nurse’ doctor as well as a public country health officer called the CDC to ask for testing, but the agency allegedly refused.
An unidentified California nurse who is contracted coronavirus from a patient and is currently in quarantine has blasted the lack of testing for medical professionals. Pictured: Bonnie Castillo, executive director of National Nurses United, speaks during a news conference at the National Nurses United offices, March 5
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