Vice President Pence speaks at coronavirus task force briefing

The coronavirus task force gives updates on the ongoing pandemic.
8:28 | 03/22/20

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Transcript for Vice President Pence speaks at coronavirus task force briefing
Thank you Mr. President a task force met this afternoon. As we do every day. And let me begin today by simply saying thank you do the American people. And thank you for the way that people across this country seven days. In the fifteen days to slow the spread. The people in communities large and small across America are responding. Arc while operating are communicating. Not just on the F of their own health and the health of their family but. More importantly on behalf of the most vulnerable among us so on behalf or your president. And our entire task force. Just thank you do the American people. I also want to express our appreciation to the governors across the country. President today just announced action in New York California and Washington State is that latest demonstration. That this administration. Will do whatever it takes. To support the leadership at the state and local level. As as the American people confront the spread of the corona virus. The legislative efforts that are under way being negotiated on Capitol Hill. As we speak the bipartisan spirit that's taking place there that's reflected in all of our interactions. With state leaders around the country. Is a great credit to the nation. But it should be a great encouragement to the American people. That your government and federal level at the state level working with courageous health care providers all across her coming together. To me this moment. And that is the way our system works. Extremely important that the American people recognize that one of the things that makes America different. Is that we have a a system of Federalist. And that the though by putting FEMA in the lead the president has emphasize. That our response to the corona virus is in. In the anthem a thing in thing FEMA is. Locally executed statement. And federally support. We want the people on the ground the decision makers have what they need we want states to be able to manage the unique circumstances. In their states and whether it legislation moving through the congress or. This the efforts the president announced today a major disaster declarations title 32 on the National Guard resources flowing hospital that's flowing. We're gonna continue to mixture that are states have what they need to meet this moment. Our task force continues focus on the priorities presidents give us they are testing mitigation and supplies. And on the subject of testing as is evident people across the country. Testing is more and more available every single day it will be detailing tomorrow from this podium. The progress that we are making on test. At this days reporting 254000. Americans. Have been tested and received results in corona virus test. With slightly more than. Than 30000 actually testing positive. There's a bit of an encouraging word in that for every American remembers when this being tested now with the exception of our health care workers. Are people that have symptoms that make them think they may have the crime of ours. And as our numbers come in consistently because the 254000. Does not include all the local hospitals are although. Local labs and states. It's working out to be about one in ten Americans have been tested or thought they had corona virus actually had it. Nine out of ten did not. Well we'll continue to roll out the testing to provide that resource. To the American people and we're working to make testing happen faster. We expect from work from the commercial labs that we should be caught up on the backlog and testing. By the middle of the week and we are urging today on the president's behalf. That all labs would prioritize. In patient. Testing. Let me say again all the commercial labs in the country you will receive guidance from HHS tomorrow. And on behalf of the president and the White House corona virus task force. We are urging all commercial labs to prioritize. In patient testing. We want people that have been checked in to a hospital. They're being treated for what they suspect to be corona virus to receive those tests more quickly. Also I'm pleased to report that yesterday the FDA of approved an emergency authorization on a new test that should. Be in production by the end of march. It actually would be a corona virus test the results of which come back and 45 minutes. And we're also working the FDA is working with manufacturers around the country to come up with a even faster more innovative tests. And as we told our governors in several calls this week governors and state health officials should simply contact FEMA for the latest information. On testing solutions. Let me also say tomorrow when we gather at this podium will be unveiling with doctor Bob Redfield in the lead new guidance. Four. People that work in law enforcement first responders people to work and what we call critical infrastructure in the country. It was in early march the CDC issued guidance for people that were. Asymptomatic or did not have symptoms but who had been exposed to someone with corona virus. We gave them guidance about being able to return to work wearing a mask for fourteen days. And tomorrow at this podium CDC will unveil in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security. New guidance which will make it possible for people that have been exposed to return to work more clicked quickly with by wearing a mask for certain. Period of time. Let me also amplify a point on behalf of the president and on behalf of the State Department about Americans abroad. And one of the one of the reasons why the United States in a different position today. And portions of Europe are and China and elsewhere. Is because the president suspended all travel from China he's suspended travel. From Europe and the UK and Ireland. But the State Department is working. Around the clock. To assist Americans who may find themselves overseas they're able to come home there's no barrier. Two Americans coming back to American soil their screen when they come home through a series of airports. But we're aware that with some flights being canceled some Americans have found themselves unable to find a way home. And as the president said we've been working very diligently through the State Department. To make it possible. Commercial flights have been chartered we're also working with the military for backup on flights. At this point the State Department is brought more than 3000 Americans back home. But. Speaking to the secretary of state today he wanted me this year a website in a phone number for any American and might be looking on from overseas. You can call the Smart traveler enrollment program. At 1888. 4074747. Or you can go online at step. Dot state. Dot go this will allow our embassies and consulates to gather important information. About your situation and work to facilitate. To bring you home. Let me say finally as I began working close as the chairman of the leader of this White House corona virus task force. We are seven days in the fifties. And the American people or respond. As we speak about supplies as we speak about testing and most important thing every American can do. Is he the guidance in the direction from state and local officials particularly in areas where we have widespread. Corona virus infections. But for every American putting into practice these measures that the president alluded to it the very beginning of his remarks. Is a way that we can. That we can do this America. And we can we can lessen the magnitude. Of the corona virus. In our country. With the cooperation compassion generosity. And prayers of the American people. We can slow the spread. We can protect the most vulnerable. And we can't healer line. So let's do.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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