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Remarks by President Trump After Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention president, donald trump, dnlds wht hs, remarks, tour, centers of disease control and prevention, march 9, 2020
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Remarks by President Trump After Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Press Release:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  •  Atlanta, GA  •  March 6  •  4:43 P.M EST

    THE PRESIDENT: I said, "I'd like to walk the press down the hall to see how professional this is." It's incredible. If you people would like, we would do that. Are they able to do that, Doctor? Can they do that?

    DR. MONROE: (Inaudible.)

    THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Yes. (Laughter.) Why don't you tell them a little bit about what you're doing and how it's going? And here they are, right over there. They're actually very nice people. But they're told not be (inaudible) by the editors.

    Dr. Monroe is a tremendously talented man. They've done tremendous work here. Doctor, please.

    DR. MONROE: Well, thank you, Mr. President. And -

    Q:  Could speak up just a little bit for us?

    Q:  Yeah, we can't hear.

    Q:  It's really low.

    DR. MONROE: Thank you, Mr. President. In this laboratory is where we generate materials that go into all of our diagnostic tests, not just for the coronavirus, which you have the electron micrograph here, but also for all of the other infectious agents that we work with.

    And the advantage of having this facility here is the CDC is constantly listening for infectious disease spreads, both within the U.S. and around the world. And when we first heard about this unusual illness in Wuhan, China, we started paying close attention to see if there was any indication of what might be the cause.

    And as soon as the Chinese announced that it was a coronavirus and made available to the general public the sequence of that virus, we immediately started using that information - our scientists - to develop a test so that we could detect the virus.

    THE PRESIDENT: Can you hear that okay?

    Q:  No.

    THE PRESIDENT: Can we go over there?

    (The participants move to a closer location.)

    This is Dr. Monroe, everybody. If you could maybe go through that, Doctor. This is a little more comfortable, right?

    DR. MONROE: Sure. So the CDC is always listening for infectious disease threats, both in the U.S. and around the world. And we heard early on, at the beginning of - end of December - about this unusual illness that was taking place in Wuhan, China. And the fact that it was associated with the seafood market led some evidence that it might be this - what we call a zoonotic transmission, from animals to people.

    As soon as the Chinese announced that it was a novel coronavirus - and the Chinese, to their credit, made that sequence information available right away - our coronavirus experts here at CDC used that sequence information to design a test so that we would be able to detect the virus even though, at that time, there were no cases in the U.S. and we had no samples of the virus because we had no clinical materials.

    And so we quickly went from designing the test, and the materials were made in these laboratories. The quality control is done here. And then our scientists used that to validate that it would work against what they could make as the coronavirus, using just the sequence information. But importantly, so that it would not affect other things, because you want a positive to only be for the coronavirus, not for other kinds of viruses that create similar respiratory samples.

    THE PRESIDENT: Does everybody understand that?

    Q:  Can we ask some questions, please?

    THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, sure. Just one second. Let him finish up.

    DR. MONROE: And then, in relatively short order, as the information coming out of China indicated that this was more serious than was originally thought - originally seven cases - we stood up our incident management system here at CDC so that we would have all the right components together - the epidemiology, the laboratory, the communications, the policy folks.


    And then once it became clear that it was even more serious, that's when we started to work with our colleagues at FDA to say, "We need to make this test available to the larger public health laboratory community."

    And so, worked with FDA to get -

    THE PRESIDENT: So tell them about how you've done with the tests (inaudible) over 4 million.

    DR. MONROE: - to get what we call "emergency use authorization" so that we could distribute the test to our - originally to our public health laboratory counterparts.

    And now, working with the commercial manufacturers, we're in position to scale up that production beyond what we can do with our own facility here, so that there's the capacity to test more and more Americans. And we are - as we work today to qualify more of those materials to go out.

    And it's important to note that at no time during this response has CDC ever denied a request that came from a public health official, either state or local, to test a patient. So all the patients who needed to be tested, in the opinion of the public health officials, have been tested.

    THE PRESIDENT: They have plenty of materials is what you're saying.

    DR. MONROE: And, yeah, all of our state labs now have the ability to - to test for this virus -

    THE PRESIDENT: And they have had.

    Doctor, do you want to make a little statement, here?

    Q:  Tell us your name again, sir.

    DR. MONROE: Dr. Steve Monroe.

    DR. REDFIELD: Well, I think I - first, I want to thank you for your decisive leadership in helping us, you know, put public health first. I also want to thank you for coming here today and - and sort of encouraging and bringing energy to the men and women that you see that work every day to try to keep America safe. So I think that's the most important thing I want to say, sir.

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I appreciate it. And the whole situation is - the testing has been amazing, actually. What they've been able to produce in such a short period of time. You had mentioned 4 million tests before - 4 million?

    DR. MONROE: By the end of the - the week, hopefully, it will be -

    SECRETARY AZAR: The following - next week.

    DR. MONROE: And the following week, we'll be at -

    THE PRESIDENT: What - what number will it be?

    SECRETARY AZAR: Up to 4 million tests available in the United States by the end of next week. We've got commercial labs getting validated as we speak.

    By the end of this weekend, we'll, as promised, have enough testing for seven- - that CDC has produced for - to test 75,000 people is already out. And then enough tests for another million tests to be done. And that's - most of that is shipped, but last lots are here being validated by Dr. Monroe's team as we speak.

    DR. REDFIELD: The one thing I would like to add: You know, the purpose of all of this, as Dr. Monroe said, is to have the capacity to detect the unknown. You know, this lab has developed tests for Zika, SARS, MERS, and now this coronavirus.

    And I think it really is remarkable that the capacity we had here - once we got the sequence, I think this lab team had a functional test in about seven days that - they worked with the FDA to make sure it was regulated.

    I think it's - that's really what we do.


    Read the full transcript HERE.

You can visit a collection of all White House posts by clicking here.


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