WASHINGTON - In a Friday press briefing, President Donald Trump said that he does not believe a national lockdown would be necessary amid the coronavirus pandemic, praising the efforts undertaken by states such as New York and California.
The president also announced that the federal government would be waiving interest on all federally-held student loans and allowing for the suspension of payments without penalty for at least 60 days. Borrowers should contact their lenders for more details.
President Trump also said the U.S. and Mexico will sharply curtail cross-border travel to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The limits on travel will apply only to recreational and tourist travel. Trade will not be affected.
The restrictions are similar to limits the U.S. and Canada put in place earlier this week along their shared border. There also will be no ban on people traveling for work or other essential activities.
When asked about when every American would be able to get a coronavirus test, the president said that he doesn't want everyone to receive testing but just those who have a medical problem. The president did not address a reporter's remarks on how not all Americans who had COVID-19 symptoms were able to get testing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci also commented that it is still possible to address the outbreak without testing everyone. Fauci also noted how we are not yet at a point where the country is able to meet the demand pressure regarding testing.
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In the briefing, it was also announced that the federal government would not be enforcing standardized educational testing requirements for students in elementary through high school for the current year.
When questioned by a reporter whether he was being irresponsible by putting a positive spin on the pandemic, the president lashed out and called the journalist a "terrible reporter."
Regarding members of congress who had sold stocks prior to the market downfall, the president says that he finds those legislators to be honorable.
For Americans who are stranded internationally due to new travel restrictions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the department is using all the tools that it can, such as private flights, to bring people home.
On whether the federal initiative to send Americans checks would be enough to sustain them in response to drastic economic downturns, the president highlighted other federal programs and said that he thinks the U.S. will improve and be even better.
Vice President Mike Pence also encouraged Americans not to be scared but to be vigilant. When asked on how many companies that the president has directed to make more ventilators and masks, he did not respond with a specific number but said "a lot."
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“Americans from every walk of life are coming together,” Trump said. “We are winning and we are going to win this war.”
The new measures comes as the administration comes under increased scrutiny for its inability to provide the needed masks and ventilators to hospitals on the verge of being overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have been working urgently toward a $1 trillion aid package to prop up households and the U.S. economy that would put money directly into American's pockets.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.