During a coronavirus news briefing this week, President Donald Trump announced that he will be putting the spotlight on the nation’s elderly residents in the coming weeks as his administration continues its efforts toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., Breitbart reported.
“The China virus poses the greatest threat to our senior citizens,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday, according to a White House transcript.
Trump went on to detail his administration’s plans for protecting nursing home residents amid the ongoing public health crisis, particularly through identifying those at highest risk and providing relevant information to state governments.
“We have them surveyed and we have them mostly pinpointed,” the president said, according to Breitbart.
Additionally, Trump pledged $5 billion in federal assistance for nursing homes and other facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid. These locations will also reportedly be equipped with a total of about 15,000 rapid testing kits.
“I want to send a message of support and hope to every senior citizen who has been dealing with the struggle of isolation in what should be the golden years of your life,” Trump told reporters.
This aspect of his administration’s strategy involves sheltering those at highest risk “while allowing younger and healthier citizens to return to work or school while being careful and very vigilant.”
“Get to the end of that tunnel”
Though his remarks touched on the spike in cases registered across many states, Trump struck an optimistic tone in expressing hope that the nation “will get to the end of that tunnel very quickly.”
Nursing homes have been the epicenters of outbreaks across the U.S., and a report last month in The New York Times found that such facilities accounted for nearly half of the country’s known COVID-19 fatalities. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was widely criticized for policy linked to a rise in cases and deaths among the state’s nursing home patients.
The Associated Press reported that 4,500 individuals who had tested positive for the virus were sent back to nursing homes between March and May, when Cuomo finally reversed the policy.
In his latest briefing, Trump also emphasized the importance of resuming in-person education this fall, telling a reporter that he would be “comfortable” sending his son and grandchildren to school.
As Trump’s rivals continue to suggest he does not have a strategy for handling the coronavirus, these regular press briefings will give him a much-needed forum to counter that narrative with specific details and facts.