THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And thank you for being here to discuss the relentless work that we're doing to defeat the
First, I want to provide an update to our response and on our response to a hurricane. So the hurricane is -- I'm not sure it's a hurricane yet. It's -- right now, it's sort of projected as a storm/hurricane, right? What's going to happen? Is that looking like a hurricane to you, Ron?
THE PRESIDENT: Let's keep it that. Let's not let it get any bigger. But it's -- it's pretty severe nevertheless. A lot of water coming in. It's approach -- approaching the
The storm has already passed through
But we think it's going to be -- it's going to work out very well. But we have
I ask all of those in the path of the storm to follow the guidance of your state, local, and tribal officials. My administration will be here for you every single step of the way. We've done everything we can do, and now we're just waiting for the storm. And I guess it's right behind me. It's following me.
We're grateful to be joined by Health and Human Services Secretary, who's doing a fantastic job on COVID, or whatever you want to call it. There are many different names. All we know is it came from
Previous governor, and now senator,
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks very much.
And CEO of
So we continue to take very aggressive action to combat the virus in
The rate of positive cases in
There is currently over 21 percent inpatient hospital bed capacity available. So there's plenty of bed capacity. And over 16 percent ICU capacity available, and some of that's going to be emptying out as people get better. They do get better and they get better pretty fast.
Statewide, we're providing additional resources and personnel to help save lives. We remain concerned about
The test positivity rate has declined over the last week -- and in some cases, very substantially -- as have hospitalization levels. But we must further reduce the spread, and that's what we're doing. We're working closely with health officials on the ground to support this effort.
The single best way to defeat the disease is personal responsibility. You've heard me say it. You've heard a lot of people say it, actually. I urge all Americans to protect the elderly. The fact is you have to do the social distancing thing. It's very important. Socially distance. Wear a mask when you cannot avoid crowded places or socially distance. And wash your hands as often as possible.
Almost half of all deaths nationwide have been in nursing homes and assisted living centers. And I have to say, the state of
I have to say that there's been a big surge of the
The average age of those who succumb to the virus is 78 years old. We're also closely monitoring the situation in
We've sent many ventilators to
And we're helping a lot of -- a lot of countries. We've sent them to
The amazing thing is we started with very few, and not one person that needed a ventilator did not get a ventilator. So that's a pretty amazing statistic. We have nearly 1,400 federal personnel on the ground already in
In the last week, we've opened five new surge testing sites in
Testing wise, we've tested almost 60 million people throughout the country, which is about six times more than any other country -- close to six times more than any other country. We have -- if you look at
We've secured 90 percent of the world's supply of remdesivir, which has been very, very successful, and have sent over 143 vials to
Operation Warp Speed -- today we reached a
What we've done is rather incredible, I have to say. We have many companies -- great companies -- Johnson &
And we're set with our military to deliver the vaccine. We have a -- a tremendous military delivery service, and that, we'll be doing it. It's called "logistics," and they will be taking the vaccine and bringing it all over the country. And I'm sure that we'll be supplying it beyond our country also. But we're going to have it very soon.
We're also having a tremendous work done on other treatments other than vaccines. So we have a lot of -- a lot of great things in the pipeline. I think things that are going to be really spectacular. I'm very excited about therapeutics because, therapeutically, I think we have answers that are really looking good. In fact, if I had my choice, I'd probably, initially, maybe you go with the therapeutics because you walk into the hospital -- they get a shot or they -- they do a transfusion, depending on the company and the -- and what they're doing. And a short time later, just people get better. So we're looking at that very, very strongly.
I just want to thank Rick and Ron and everybody. They've done, really, a fantastic job. We've worked together so long and so hard. And this is something that came upon us. It should have never happened, but it came upon us. And there's been great bravery from our doctors and our nurses, our frontline people. And we're very proud of what's happening. And we'll get rid of it. We'll beat it, and it'll be soon.
We want to get our schools open. We want to get our businesses open. Much of the country is open. We've set records on number of employees, and hiring and employment. Basically, if you look at the number, I think last month was the highest number ever hired in one month. And the month before that, we broke that record. So from that standpoint, we've done well. Retail sales set a record last month. So we're doing, really, record increase. So we're doing really well, and I think this will end, hopefully, very soon. But we're fighting hard and we're fighting smart.
And I'd like to ask your governor to say a few words. Please, Ron.
So I would just urge Floridians, just particularly if you're from
As it does move west, it's kind of weakening a tad. And if it strengthens, we think it may end up going further east. But just continue to listen to your local officials.
We'll be providing updates multiple times a day, throughout the weekend. And obviously the federal government has been great, helping. We did submit for a landfall emergency declaration. So we look forward to that support.
And we also want to thank the administration for supporting us with the fight against COVID-19. Anytime we needed anything, you know, we would talk to the President and Vice President, and we would get it. So when some of -- when we started to see the hospital admissions really pick up, the doctors were prescribing more remdesivir. So we told them, "Hey, you guys have been sending us enough for when we had very low census. Now that the census is higher, can we get more? Can we move up these shipments?" And Alex was involved, the President. We got it up. And so we've accelerated a number of weeks of shipments, so they've been able to have the medications that they need.
I also think -- you know,
So I think what we're going to be doing because of what you guys have just sent us additionally -- the wait times on the labs, it's just gotten backed up. We're doing so many tests. Sometimes it takes 7 to 10 days to get the results back.
So what we're going to do is we've already focused on our symptomatic test takers, which are a minority of the people testing. We have agreements with labs to get it turned around quicker. And then the federal government has sent us these point-of-care antigen tests. So we're going to have 1,250 of those a day.
So we're going to convert some of our bigger test sites into point-of-care antigen testing for symptomatic and elderly people, probably in
When we get the test results reported, some of these tests are from two or three weeks ago in these data dumps. So I think it'll help us be able to understand the prevalence better. So that's an important tool. So I just wanted to say thank you for sending those machines to us.
THE PRESIDENT: And you have the numbers in 5 minutes to 15 minutes or something (inaudible).
THE PRESIDENT: Especially for the elderly.
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great, Rick. Thank you very much.
And I just want to thank you for your commitment to the vaccine. I know that's a -- that'll be a game changer when that happens, and I know you -- you and your administration have been very aggressive in making sure that happens in the testing. So I just want to tell you, I think you've -- you've done a great job trying to get and make sure, you know, everybody is getting this done as quickly as possible.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
I want to thank Secretary Azar. His team has done a great job. The -- I want to tell you,
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Rick. And the speed of approval is just a tiny fraction of the time that it would have been in a -- let's say, another administration. It's -- the FDA has been fantastic. They're getting things through, Ron, at levels that nobody ever thought possible. We're close to a vaccine. We think we're close to a vaccine, and that's been a matter of months, as opposed to many years. It could be -- take many years. And we think we're going to have a great answer very, very soon.
SECRETARY AZAR: Sure. Thank you, Mr. President.
So we're working very closely with
In addition, we'll -- we're recommending and working with the state to establish shelters that would be non-congregate places for sheltering in place. If you do end up in a place that's a congregate setting, we -- it's the same advice that we give in a non-emergency situation: wear face coverings, practice good physical distance, good personal hygiene.
As the President said, we've had just a -- it's -- I think it's a historic 24 hours on the development of therapeutics and vaccines --
THE PRESIDENT: That's true.
SECRETARY AZAR: -- under the President's Operation Warp Speed initiative.
Yesterday afternoon, the President made a historic national call to action for people to donate plasma. So I call on Floridians: Please, if you have tested positive and recovered from COVID, go to Coronavirus.gov and learn how you can donate your plasma and save lives through the
And then, as the President said just this morning, we announced the sixth -- the sixth vaccine candidates from
And then also today, out of our
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Alex. I appreciate it. Please, go ahead.
We're looking forward to your leadership in the future to make sure we bring those manufacturing jobs back to
You've worked very closely with our governor. The governor did a tremendous job making sure that we were protecting our most vulnerable. And so the state of
And we're very proud of the fact that we have the best pharmaceuticals anywhere in the world --
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
So, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: And I just signed an executive order whereby the gentleman on my right can go out and buy your prescription drugs at a number that you'd never thought possible. And I assume you're going to be doing that pretty soon, Ron, right?
I'd also say, just with respect to the long-term care, your administration is sending to a number of facilities throughout the country, nursing homes, point-of-care tests there as well. Now, we are testing all the staff every two weeks. We have over 200,000 staff because we have over 4,000 facilities. And then, if there is an infection, then we'll go and look to see if the residents need to be tested. And we've already tested all the residents throughout this pandemic.
But the point of care, I think, is going to be less even for staff or residents, but for allowing visitors again. We've not had visitors in these places since mid-March because we feared having the introduction of the virus. And I think that that's the right decision to protect life, but that comes at an enormous emotional cost because you have elderly folks who want to have that human connection.
And so, if you have a 15-minute test, you can have the family members go, take the test, they can go in and see. That is important for health too, because mental wellbeing and everything is just really, really important. So I want to thank you for doing that. It's really good.
I think it'd be interesting -- you know, Justin really can give you a good synopsis about where the
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, Justin.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
We have seen -- almost every one of our members has seen either their census leveling off, or actually starting to decline. And there's real hope, I think, that August, we're going to see some acceleration there. The key is to keep working together.
I think some of the difference makers in terms of the outcomes in
I also think that the state has done an excellent job of relieving pressure on the hospitals. We have a lot of patients -- elderly patients -- that are in the hospital; they're COVID-positive, but they've stabilized, and they no longer need to be in the hospital. And you can't discharge them to a long-term care facility because they're still COVID-positive. The state -- that creates a lot of pressure on the hospital to have that patient still in there. It takes up capacity.
The state has done a great job of setting up COVID-only facilities that have allowed us to get those patients out of a hospital, get them to a comfortable place where they get the treatment that they need, they get the services that they need, but the hospital has the capacity.
Our hospitals are all participating in these clinical trials. Remdesivir was one that our hospitals participated in. They're participating in the antibody studies, and we have a lot of hope on those as well. And I think that the cooperation between the state and federal government is something that we've certainly seen firsthand, and we definitely appreciate all the work that's gone in.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you've really done a good job on the nursing homes. When I look at you compared to other places, frankly, you've really done a great job on nursing homes. I know you're focused on it. But that's been a very good situation compared to other places.
So we have these facilities that can accept the transfers. Then, when they clear the illness, then they go back. So it's good for the resident if they don't have to be in the hospital, not have to go, but then for the other residents, to not have somebody there spreading it --
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's been really an amazing job.
And I think that our success, particularly in
And when we needed help, Governor, your departments were there -- they were right there to help us. And the CARES Act that we received --
So providing the resources has been great, but allowing us the autonomy to come up with a plan that's individualized for each individual county, I think, has been the best way to attack this approach.
So I really appreciate, kind of, taking the hands-off approach, and just providing the resources and letting the local community do what they need to do.
And it's been very successful. Our positive rate now went down from a 14 percent to a 6 or 7 percent.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, that's great.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great.
THE PRESIDENT: Good job.
THE PRESIDENT: Really good job. Thank you very much.
But I wanted to say thank you for your leadership under this time. You know, we have two great senators that have done a phenomenal job. And
And at the same time, I think Senator
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
So on behalf of
THE PRESIDENT: It was an amazing group of people, wasn't it?
THE PRESIDENT: As long as we rode -- and we rode a long time -- we had tremendous crowds. And we appreciate it, and we love
THE PRESIDENT: Great job you're doing.
Do you have any questions, please, for anybody?
Q Mr. President, how concerned are you about your political standing in
THE PRESIDENT: Well, based on the polls, I'm doing very well in
And you remember I used to say the cupboards were bare, federally. From the federal standpoint, we had very empty cupboards. We -- whether it was the military or the cupboards for medical, they were bare.
And Ron -- I think Ron and Rick would both say we've really supplied you with a lot, not only having to do with the medical and the COVID, but having to do with a lot more. In particular, some of the hurricanes -- your time and your time -- where you had some really bad ones, and we came through.
So the polls are looking very good. And I think when you see those crowds of people along the roads, there's a very good feeling.
Q But what about the number of deaths we've seen in recent days here?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I hate it anywhere. But if you look at other countries, other countries are doing terribly. This is a horrible disease. This is a disease that should have never happened. It's something never should have been allowed to get out of
And I will say this: Proportionately, relatively, when you look at your nursing home situation, it's a tribute to your governor and government -- the job they've done. You've done a really great job, and you have a very big nursing home population. You've done a fantastic job.
So I think we're doing really well in
Q Mr. President, you told Axios, in an interview earlier this week, that you did not bring up the intelligence assessment with your -- with
THE PRESIDENT: I read it all the time. I see it all the time. It was never brought to my attention. I think it's another
And we're working with
When you look at we've -- what we've done compared to the past administrations, it's not even a contest. We've been very tough on
But speaking of
So nobody has done more against
Q Mr. President -- Mr. President, what's in your healthcare plan that's coming on Sunday?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're going to be doing a healthcare plan. We're going to be doing a very inclusive healthcare plan. I'll be signing it sometime very soon.
Q You said two weeks, when you spoke to
THE PRESIDENT: It might be -- it might be Sunday, but it's -- it's going to be very soon. We're also doing a full immigration plan. We're going to take care of a lot things that, for 25 years, they've been trying to get an immigration plan.
We're going to be doing merit-based immigration. I'm sure you'd be happy to hear that. But it's merit-based. It's very powerfully merit-based. It's going to be very inclusive. It's going to cover just about everything that most people would have said couldn't happen, and we'll be releasing that over the next couple of weeks. So we're going -- we're doing a healthcare plan. We're doing a immigration plan. And we're doing another one that's very important are the drugs -- prescription drug prices.
We pay the highest of any country in the world, by far. You look at
The bad news is, the pharmaceutical companies aren't exactly in love with
We are -- as an example,
We're going to allow states like
THE PRESIDENT: How about that? Seventy-five percent less. So they're going to be buying it at approximately 75 percent less.
What we're doing, really, which is the most we're doing: rebates. And the rebates are going to go to the people and they're going to go in the form of drug reduction, drug price reduction. But we're doing something called "favored nations." And nobody thought anybody would ever do that.
But, look, I want what's right for the people, and it's been very unfair. So, favored nations, meaning if another nation is paying lower, and another nation is paying even lower than that, we take the lowest nation in the world, and that's what we have to pay. Right now, we're paying many times the lowest nation in the world. You have some of the socialistic -- or social -- well, I guess you could say socialistic nations. They have drugs at a low price. Well, we'll use that to our advantage, because we're going to be getting the price that they have.
Now, what's going to happen is their price will probably have to go up and our price will go way down. And I could see 50, 60, 70 percent -- maybe more than that -- reduction in prices. And no other President will ever do that. And the heat I've taken in the last couple of weeks because of that is unbelievable. And, frankly, the ads I've taken are unbelievable. It's sort of incredible. You see drug companies taking these massive ads.
THE PRESIDENT: You'll be buying the same drug that you paid a fortune for, for half the price, maybe better than that even. And the exact same drug made maybe in the same factory, the same company, and you're going to be paying a fraction of the price.
But the drug companies are not happy. And, look, we want them to be happy. We want them to do well with the vaccines. We want them to do well with everything. But they've made a fortune, and that's why they can afford the ads, that's for sure.
So when you see ads against us, and me in particular -- because I'm the one that's -- I've signed four acts -- we'll call it executive orders -- and they're the most powerful ever signed in this industry by a factor of about 20. And it's going to bring your drug prices down to a level that you've never seen before. So we're very -- I'm very happy about that.
The drug companies don't contribute to my campaign. I don't need their money. I haven't asked for their money. And if they did, it wouldn't matter to me anyway, but I am not somebody that's reliant on the drug companies. And we call it "big pharma." Big pharma is probably the most powerful lobbyists of any lobbyists there is, probably. I don't know. Maybe the lawyers lobby is pretty powerful too. But big pharma would be just about up there. And we have to do what's right.
They've been talking about reducing drug prices ever since I can remember, ever since I've been starting to really watch politics with interest, which was actually at a very young age. But we've been talking about drug price reductions and prescription drug reductions.
And I will tell you, you're going to see the biggest reductions in the history of our country by many times. We're not talking about a 1 percent. And as you know, last year, for the first time in 51 years, drug prices went down. Marginally, but they went down. First time in 51 years. So I was President, and drug prices went down first time in 51 years. Now you're going to see numbers that you wouldn't even believe, and it's going to be fair.
It's not fair that other countries pay a fraction of a -- and I mean a fraction of what we do. We pay all research and development and promotional costs and everything; it's put onto
I mean, this is the way they buy. They go and -- I won't mention names of comp- -- of countries. But they say, "This is what we're going to pay.
Okay, thank you all very much. We appreciate it. Thank you.