Rose Garden Washington D.C. April 15 5:49 P.M. EDT
Okay. Thank you very much. Please. Thank you. A big day today at the White House. All of American society is engaged and mobilized in the war against the invisible enemy. While we must remain vigilant, it is clear that our aggressive strategy is working - and very strongly working, I might add.
New cases are declining throughout the New York metropolitan area. Cases in the Detroit and Denver metro areas are flat. Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Philadelphia; and St. Louis are showing great signs of progress, and new cases in Houston and New Orleans are declining.
The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. Hopefully that will continue and we will continue to make great progress.
These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country, which we'll be announcing. We're going to be talking about that tomorrow. We'll be having a news conference tomorrow sometime during the afternoon. We're going to be announcing guidelines, and we'll be talking about various states. And it's very exciting.
It's been a horrible time to see such death and destruction, especially when you come out of what was the greatest economy in the history of the world. The greatest. There's never been an economy like what we had produced, but we'll produce it again. And I think we'll produce it again very fast.
The medical and healthcare advances we've made are critical to our continued progress. We've rapidly developed the most expansive and accurate testing system anywhere in the world and have completed more than 3.3 million tests. To date, we have authorized 48 separate coronavirus tests, and the FDA is working with 300 companies and labs to widen our capacity still further.
Today, Abbott Labs announced that it has developed an antibody test that will determine if someone has been previously infected with the coronavirus and potentially developed immunity. It's a great test. The company says these tests could be available to screen up to 20 million people in a matter of weeks.
My administration is also distributing vast amounts of medical supplies to states across the country through Project Air Bridge, which has been an amazing success. We have completed 44 flights - and these are flights of very, very large airplanes, massive cargo planes - 44 flights of critical supplies as of today and an additional 56 flights scheduled in the near future. We have some very brilliant people working on this. It's logistically incredible what they've done. And we've also been working on this with the military. And these people have been - the genius of all of them together, it has been incredible to watch.
In total, through all channels, the federal government has developed and delivered 39.4 million N95 masks, 431 million gloves, 57 million surgical masks, and 10.2 million gowns. We ordered 500 million masks, and they'll be coming shortly. And we've distributed 100 million masks.
Following our use of the Defense Production Act, GM announced that its first ventilators come off the assembly line in Kokomo, Indiana - a great place. They did it in 11 days, from start to finish, a remarkable testament to the ingenuity of the American worker. GM will ship over 600 ventilators this month alone, with thousands more to come. And we have other companies doing something similar.
And I think they said that there's a brief clip that we have of General Motors, sent to us by General Motors. And I think they might be wanting to play that for your benefit. Please.
(A video is played.)
I know you got a little bit nervous when you saw there was a clip about ready to be played, but that was sent to us by General Motors, and we thought it would be a good one to play. It's amazing. It's - you know, what they've done in a very, very short period of time.
They're now making thousands of ventilators, and they're coming out of the factory very rapidly, at a clip that nobody can even believe. But we have others also doing it. And these are very high-grade ventilators. So we're helping a lot of people. And at this moment, nobody needs them. We have to remember, during the surge, nobody has needed him for weeks now.
But we'll have them for stockpiles, and very importantly, we're going to have them for other countries because nobody is able to do things like we can do. And we're going to be able to help other countries that are having tremendous problems, to put it mildly.
My administration is using every available authority to accelerate the development, study, and delivery of therapies - so important, therapies - treatments, and ultimately, what we want to come up with is a safe vaccine. But frankly, the therapies, to me, are the most important because it takes care of people right now. The vaccines have to be tested, so it takes a longer period of time. But we have some great potential therapies already, and we'll see how they're working. We'll be able to report on that, I think, over the next week or two. Tremendous progress has been made.
At least 35 clinical trials of promising therapies are now underway. So 35 different genius companies. If you look at AIDS, if you look at Ebola, if you look at so many things, they've come up with the answers to so many things, you wouldn't have believed it. And we're very honored to be working with them.
They include antivirals, and also - and they - something which is incredible: It keeps the virus from multiplying. A mechanism that keeps the virus from multiplying. Immune therapies that prevent the immune system from overreaching to the virus. And convalescent plasma treatments that use antibodies from the blood of recovered patients.
And we have a lot of patients who recover, and they're so happy to have recovered that the first thing they do is say, "We want to give our blood." And they do that. It's incredible. We have thousands of people that are doing that. They recover and they feel they have an obligation because they've gotten such great care. And a lot of them didn't think they were going to make it.
As the entire U.S. government works to combat the global pandemic, it is absolutely essential that the key positions at relevant federal agencies are fully staffed. And we're not allowing that to take place through our Congress. They're just not - they're just not giving it to us. We have many, many positions that are unstaffed because we can't get the approvals. The Democrats are holding us up. We cannot get approval.
We've gotten judges because we go through the process. I guess we're up to 448 federal judges. And that, we've gotten because we focus on it; we take the maximum time. Because no matter who the judge is, they take vast numbers of days and hours to approve, and it leaves no time left for others. Very unfair system.
If a judge is going to be approved in one hour, in one session, it doesn't matter - they'll take the maximum number of hours and days - you're talking about days - to get one judge approved. And we're close to 250 judges, but because of the way they're doing it, there's no time for anybody else. And many of these people have been waiting for two and a half years. We have a couple that have been waiting for longer than that.
There are currently 129 nominees stuck in the Senate because of partisan obstruction. Many are nominated for vacancies that must be filled to assist with the coronavirus crisis and the resulting economic challenges. And I've read, over the last couple of years, "Well, I didn't fill positions." I don't fill positions - in some cases, we don't need the position, and I'm all for that. But in many cases, you do, but we can't get them approved by the Democrats. They won't release them.
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