WebMD News Brief

Trump: Social Distancing Efforts Won’t Last Months

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March 24, 2020 — In a Monday White House press briefing, President Donald Trump hinted that the slowdown to stop the spread of COVID -19 may be briefer than he originally predicted. "I'm not looking at months, I can tell you that," Trump said. He then added he was not saying the "Stop the Spread" 15-day effort would definitely end next week. "We haven’t announced an end date but we are coming close to coming up with a date. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself," he said, referring to the economic fallout. He said a decision will be made at the end of the 15 days.

"This was a medical problem," he said. "We are not going to turn it into a long-term economic problem. "The shutdown, he said, "is not going to be three or four months as people thought originally."

Also at the briefing:

  • On Tuesday, the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, along with Z-pack, will be ready for use in New York to treat COVID-19 patients on a clinical trial basis.
  • Medical supplies continue to be delivered to hard-hit areas. "Construction companies are donating masks by the hundreds of thousands," Trump said.
  • Trump signed an executive order to prohibit the hoarding of medical supplies and to prevent price gouging.
  • The FDA is looking at a testing method that will allow people to collect their own sample. That will reduce risk to healthcare providers and speed the process.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will instruct health providers to prioritize testing for hospitalized patients and health care workers.
  • The FDA is evaluating whether using blood from recovered patients could become a treatment for sick ones.
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