President Donald Trump said on Monday that more than 1 million Americans have been tested for COVID-19, which he called a historic milestone.
“Today we reached a historic milestone in our war against the coronavirus,” Trump said. “Over 1 million Americans have now been tested. More than any other country by far. Not even close. And tested accurately.”
Trump said that more than 1 million American lives can also be saved if everyone “very vigorously” follows the social distancing guidelines, which were introduced on March 16 and are to be extended through the end of April.
He said the projection comes from the same modelling that showed that the peak in COVID-19 deaths will come in about two weeks.
The guidelines may have a few modifications and “maybe even toughened up a little bit,” Trump said. He will provide further details on the extension of the guidelines on Tuesday.
The president said that all Americans have a “shared patriotic duty” to win the war against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
“Our future is in our own hands, and the choices and sacrifices we make will determine the fate of this virus and really the fate of our victory,” Trump said.
“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days. This is a very vital 30 days. We are sort of putting it all on the line, this 30 days,” he added.
100,000 Tests a Day
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said that the United States is now testing nearly 100,000 samples a day, something he called “a level that no other country has reached.”
Azar also announced that the HHS over the weekend secured 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz, a division of the healthcare company Novartis. The HHS also secured 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Both drugs are for possible use in treating patients with COVID-19 in clinical trials.
President Trump praised the initiative from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for alerting him of the company Batelle, which was seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its mask sterilizing system.
“[Governor Mike DeWine] says we have a company and they have a hard time getting approval from the FDA,” Trump said. “I called them. Within a short period of time, they got it approved.”
“Each machine can disinfect 120,000 masks per day. Think of that. Each machine can disinfect 120,000 masks per day,” the president said, adding that each mask can go through the sterilization process 20 times.
“They have two in Ohio, one in New York, and one will soon be shipped to Seattle, Washington. And also to Washington, D.C. That will make a tremendous difference on the masks,” Trump said.
Ventilators for America and Other Countries
The president said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has obligated more than $1.3 billion in federal support to New York state, which he called a “hotbed.” He said that more than 1,000 ventilators will be delivered to New York over the next 48 hours, on top of the 8,100 already delivered.
Trump said that ventilators will soon be delivered to other states: 400 to Michigan, 300 to New Jersey, 150 to Illinois, 150 to Louisiana, and 50 to Connecticut.
“FEMA and HHS already delivered 11.6 million N95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks, 5.3 million face shields, 4.4 million surgical gowns, and 22 million gloves,” he said.
He noted an announcement from Ford Motor Co. and General Electric’s healthcare unit that they intend to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
He also noted that General Motors and other U.S.-based companies would be making ventilators as well. “But we have nine other companies doing ventilators. As we outpace what we need, we’re going to be sending them to Italy, we’re going to be sending them to France, we’re going to be spending them to Spain … and other countries as we can.”
The president added that the United States would be sending Italy about $100 million in medical supplies that are not needed in the United States.
“[Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte] was very happy, I will tell you that, they’re having a very hard time,” Trump said.