James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington D.C. April 4 4:15 P.M. EDT
It's a busy time. Very busy time. And let me begin by again expressing our support, solidarity, and love for the people of our great country. We're fighting for you and we're enduring all of this together. And we will soon prevail together. We're making a lot of progress.
We appreciate all of the great assistance from the governors and people within the states. The relationships have been, really, very good. I spoke with Governor Cuomo. We're working very hard to get additional things to New York as quickly as possible.
We - as you know, we took care of the hospital, including personnel - the 2,500 beds that we build just recently at Javits, including personnel. And we opened it up to COVID, and that's something that we also did in Louisiana, and we're doing it in Dallas.
So we have a lot of not only hospitals being built, but now we're manning the hospitals because states are, in many cases, unable to get additional people to work. It's - it's just an incredible situation. There's never been anything like this.
One of the most important issues in battling this pandemic is coordinating the delivery of the crucial supplies throughout the nation based upon the most accurate information available. And we've got the best healthcare and disaster experts anywhere in the world, and everybody will tell you that, and we're dealing with big parts of the world on helping them also through this horrible situation where 151 - still, 151 nations are going through it.
We're working to ensure that the supplies are delivered where and when they're needed, and in some cases, we're telling governors we can't go there because we don't think you need it and we think someplace else needs it. And pretty much, so far, we've been right about that. And we'll continue to do it.
As it really gets - this will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. And there'll be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn't done. But there will be death.
We're looking for an obvious focus in the hardest-hit regions. Some of them are obvious and some aren't so obvious. They spring up. They come and they - they hit you like you got hit by a club, an area that wasn't at all bothered. You look at what's going on in New Jersey - the governor is doing an excellent job, by the way - but how that sprang up.
Every decision that we're making is made to save lives. It's really our sole consideration. We want to save lives. We want as few lives lost as possible. It's therefore critical that certain media outlets stop spreading false rumors and creating fear and even panic with the public. It's just incredible. I could name them, but it's the same ones. Always the same ones. I guess they're looking for ratings. I don't know what they're looking for. So bad for our country and so bad - the people understand it. You look at the levels and approval ratings, and they're the lowest they've ever been for media. It's so bad for - for our country. So bad for the world. You ought to put it together for a little while, get this over with, and then go back to your fake news.
During a national emergency, it's just essential that the federal decision makers cut through the fog of confusion in order to follow the facts and the science. Many hospital administrators that we've been in touch with, even in the really hotspots - you know what they are - are communicating directly with us that their level of supplies are meeting essential needs. And at the current time, they're really thrilled to be where they are. Whenever local shortages are reported, we're asking states to immediately meet the demand. And we're stockpiling large amounts in different areas - in different areas. And we're going to be discussing that in a little while.
But we want distributions to be made on a fair basis. We have to take care of a large country, not just certain areas of the country. But no matter where we're - we've been there and we've been there very strongly. I want to thank FEMA. I want to thank the Army Corps of Engineers. I want to thank our military for what they're doing.
And we're going to be adding a tremendous amount of military to help supplement the states - thousands of soldiers, thousands of medical workers, professionals, nurses, doctors. And it'll be a large number. It'll be - we'll be telling them over the next very short period where they're going. And they're going into war. They're going into a battle that they've never really trained for. Nobody has trained for this; nobody has seen this, I would say, since 1917, which was the greatest of them all. The greatest of this type of battle. Probably the greatest of them all. Right? 1917. Up to 100 million people were killed.
In addition, we're working directly with hospitals and existing suppliers and distributors to ensure that those with the greatest need are prioritized. And that need changes. One day it's one state or one locale, one city. And then all of a sudden, they're starting to do well. We had some very good reports coming out of the State of Washington, coming out of various parts of California - so, areas that we were getting ready to really hit hard. We can now go to other areas.
It looks like New York is going to be hit very hard. And Louisiana is just amazing the way it just sprang up. And everyone is doing a good job but they're going to be hit hard.
Areas in the country that are not experiencing large-scale infections are requesting supplies beyond what their present circumstances require. And we talk to them and we tell them and we explain it, and for the most part they're good with it. We think we're right.
It's very understandable that officials would seek to get the most they can get for their communities, but the fears of the shortages have led to inflated requests. We have some states and areas where they're just asking for far more. I mean, look, we had one state asking for 40,000 ventilators. Forty thousand. Think of it: 40,000. It's not possible. They won't need that many, and now they're admitting they don't need that many. But we're getting as many as we can to them.
Again, nobody has ever seen anything like this in terms of ventilators, in terms of protective equipment and uniforms and outfits. But it makes it more difficult for distributors to prioritize the real need, and it could intentionally and, you know - look, they - everybody has proper intentions but they want to make sure they're 100 percent. And sometimes, when they know they don't need it, they want it anyway. It gives them that extra feeling of satisfaction, but we just can't do that. It's not even possible to think about it.
And that's why - and we're a backup. Remember, we're a backup. We're the greatest backup that ever existed for the states, especially when we start getting into the hospital building business and getting into the medical center building business, where you see we built many hospitals - numerous hospitals in some states - and medical centers.
That's why my administration has been requesting actual usage numbers directly from the states and hospitals to meet their needs, because we want to be ready when - when the brunt of it comes, which is coming quickly; you see it. You see it as sure as you can see it. And when the brunt of it comes, we want to be ready to hit the area that needs it. We don't want to have spent everything in one area, and they don't need it there to anywhere near the extent.
So let me be extremely clear about one point: We will move heaven and earth to safeguard our great American citizens. We will continue to use every power, every authority, every single resource we've got to keep our people healthy, safe, secure, and to get this thing over with. We want to finish this war. We have to get back to work. We have to get - we have to open our country again. We have to open our country again. We don't want to be doing this for months and months and months. We're going to open our country again. This country wasn't meant for this. Few were. Few were. But we have to open our country again.
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