Trump: Virus Causing People to Stay in U.S., Spend Money Here: 'I Like That'

By Susan Jones | March 6, 2020 | 6:19am EST
President Trump takes questions on the coronavirus at a Fox News town hall on March 5. (Photo: Screen capture)
President Trump takes questions on the coronavirus at a Fox News town hall on March 5. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - "It's all going to work out," President Trump told a Fox News town hall Thursday night. "Everybody has to be calm. It's all going to work out," he repeated at the event in Scranton, Pa.

The president was talking about his administration's response to the coronavirus, still spreading here, although apparently not as extensively as it has spread in other countries. Yet, the number of confirmed U.S. cases keeps growing.

Host Martha MacCallum asked Trump about the economic hit -- the see-sawing stock market -- and Trump pointed to the silver lining:

Well, look, we were set to hit 30,000 on the Dow. This is a number that nobody ever even came close to, and already we have the number, and even though it's down ten or 11 percent, it's still the highest it's ever been by far.

It certainly might have an impact. At the same time, I have to say, people are now staying in the United States, spending their money in the U.S. And I like that. You know, I've been after that for a long time. You know that.

I've been saying let's stay in the U.S., spend your money here -- they are sort of enforced doing that. We met with the airline companies yesterday, they're doing a fantastic job, and they're just not flying to areas that have a big problem.

So, it's going to all work out -- everybody has to be calm, it's all going to work out.

Trump said he thinks people view him as having "done a very good job" handling the outbreak: "Nobody is blaming us for the virus. I haven't heard that even from some of these so-called enemies or whatever you want to call them, they aren't blaming us.

"This started in China -- how it started as a question, but thousands of thousands of cases in China and it infiltrated up to almost 100 countries."

The main criticism of the Trump administration's response is the slowness in deploying test kits.

On Thursay, Dr. Robert Kadlec, the Assistant Secretary for preparedness and response for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told a congressional hearing the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already distributed 75,000 test kits to CDC labs across the county.

"CDC started initially manufacturing some of these test kits, and within a week or 10 days of when the sequence for the virus was posted by the Chinese, began to work on a preliminary chain reaction test, which is really a genetic test to look for the presence of ...RNA from the virus," Kadlec explained.

And so the intent is...the intent of the secretary and the vice president, is really to maximize the number of tests that can be performed.

Now to just kind of put some reasonable expectations behind this, these are test kits that are going to be sent out to labs around the country. They're going to have to basically validate these labs for their test procedures and train their personnel.

So they won't become immediately available, but they'll become increasingly available over the next week or two, to basically test Americans, which is another part of this critical function, which is there have been several things to do to basically enhance our testing posture.

One is make more test kits, distribute them, train the people who need to do that, but also ensure that they're validated. But there's also been things that have been done to increase the use of these tests by indicating that people who fit the case definition for possible coronavirus can be relaxed so we can test more people. And that has been a significant--will significantly enhance the ability of doctors and first-line primary care physicians and nurses to judge when their patients should get tested if they suspect coronavirus.

So there's a lot of things that are in play here, regulatory, definitional, as well as manufacturing and distribution.

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