President Trump urged Americans to remain calm Tuesday as the government responds to the global outbreak of coronavirus.
The president, after meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, warned that Americans should exercise caution, but that the situation is being handled and will eventually be resolved.
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“We’re prepared and we’re doing a great job with it and it will go away,” Trump said. “Everybody has to be vigilant and has to be careful, but be calm.”
Trump praised his administration’s response, saying they “are doing a fantastic job,” and referred to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who stated that the federal government has provided everything he has requested from them.
Trump himself has yet to be tested, and he said the White House doctor told him there was no reason to do so. This comes after it was discovered that someone at the Conservative Political Action Conference was stricken with coronavirus. Trump attended that summit at the end of last month.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Trump said, adding he feels “extremely good.”
Democrats are preparing a package of aid that includes unemployment insurance and sick pay for working families struggling to keep paychecks coming as the outbreak disrupts workplaces and the stock market tumbled Monday. A vote could come as soon as this week or push to mid-March.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., implored lawmakers to keep working to strengthen the country’s defenses.
Meanwhile, lawmakers were given new instructions on how to protect themselves at the Capitol, with the House’s attending physician asking them to stop shaking hands or touching people during greetings – he recommended the split-fingers Star Trek greeting instead.
Trump met health insurers at the White House earlier and vowed to help the beleaguered cruise-ship and airline industries.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also called on the National Guard to help contain a coronavirus “cluster” in New Rochelle, located in Westchester County north of New York City. Out of 173 confirmed cases in the state, 108 are in Westchester, compared with 36 in New York City, according to a state press release.
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“The largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country is located in New Rochelle, and as the numbers continue to go up we need a special public health strategy to contain it,” Cuomo said. “We are moving from containment to mitigation, and because much of the transmission of this disease tends to happen on a geographic basis, we are attacking this hotspot at the source.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.