UNITED STATES−President Donald Trump announced the implementation of the Defense Production Act on Wednesday, March 18. The bill will give the federal government the authority to request manufacturers to ramp up the production of needed medical supplies like surgical masks, ventilators, respirators, and allow the expansion of hospital capacity in an effort to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) which originated in Wuhan, China.
In a Tweet, President Trump stated: “I want all Americans to understand, we are at war with an invisible enemy, but that enemy is no match for the spirit and resolve of the American people…”
He been working closely with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to provide updates. The CDC indicated there have been 6,519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and 114 deaths as a result of the virus.
The CDC reports for the 2019-2020 regular flu season are as follows:
-36,000,000 – 51,000,000 cases of the seasonal flu were reported
-17,000,000 – 24,000,000 medical visits for the season flu
-370,000 – 670,000 flu related hospitalizations
-22,000 – 55,000 flu deaths
President Trump announced an agreement between U.S. and Canadian authorities to close the northern border between the U.S. and Canada to all non-essential travelers in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The expansion of telephone communications such as Teledoc and Skype will be permitted through Medicaid along with a stimulus package. The intention is to boost the economy with an $8.3 billion package to be used in the health care system which would include 14 days paid sick leave to workers, boosts in unemployment, and increased food assistance for those in need.
The Commander in Chief is requesting $300 billion for small businesses who may suffer as a result of the pandemic, such including small restaurants who can only provide carry-out services.
The Trump administration called for a “small business interruption loan program” for businesses with fewer than 500 employees to cover a six-week payroll period capped at $1,540 per week or $80,000 annually.
The Dow rose 1,000 points after the announcement announced the $1 trillion stimulus package would provide $50 billion for lending to airlines and a proposal that calls for $150 billion to assist “other severely distressed sectors of the U.S. economy” secured through loan guarantees.