FEMA: Coronavirus test kits secured without using wartime law
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration said late Tuesday it was able to secure additional coronavirus test kits without wielding its powers under the Defense Production Act, despite announcing earlier that it planned to use the law for the first time to obtain the materials.
“At the last minute, we were able to procure the test kits from the private market without evoking the DPA,” said Lizzie Litzow, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Earlier Tuesday, FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor told CNN his team planned to “use the DPA for the first time” to obtain about 60,000 coronavirus test kits to help health care workers confront a widespread shortage of medical supplies amid the unfolding crisis.
The Korean War-era law allows President Donald Trump to address the shortage of medical supplies by directing private companies to expedite the production of medical equipment. Trump invoked the DPA last week but has resisted calls from governors and other officials to put it into practice as the administration scrambles to expand coronavirus testing across the country.
– Courtney Subramanian and Michael Collins
White House: People who have recently visited NYC should self-quarantine
Members of the White House coronavirus task force said Tuesday that those who have traveled to the New York metropolitan area recently should self-quarantine for 14 days after their departure.
Dr. Deborah Birx, leader of the task force, said that 56% of all the cases in the United States, as well as 60% of all new cases, are coming from the New York metro area. It also accounts for 31% of deaths in the country.
Vice President Mike Pence said, “Because of the spread in New York City, we will continue to surge resources.”
“We have to deal with the New York metropolitan area as a high-risk area,” he said.
Pence said the infection rate in the New York metro area is one in 1,000.
President Donald Trump reiterated this, saying, “New York is definitely a hot spot, there’s no question about it.”
When asked about whether he gave New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a heads-up, Trump responded before leaving the briefing, “We’re talking to them.”
The announcement comes hours after Trump slammed Cuomo during a Fox News town hall for not ordering ventilators years ago.
Cuomo warned at his daily news conference on Tuesday that New York state could be just two weeks from seeing 40,000 patients requiring intensive care in facilities equipped for only 3,000.
“We are not slowing it. And it is accelerating on its own,” Cuomo said. “We are now looking at a bullet train.”
– Savannah Behrmann and Jeanine Santucci
Sources from: USA Today
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