WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the widening coronavirus outbreak in the US.
“To unleash the full power of the federal government … I am officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump said, at a White House Rose Garden press conference Friday as the death toll in the US topped 40.
The president also touted his administration’s efforts to fight the virus.
“We’re doing a tremendous job,” he said
Trump invoked the action under both the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act.
The declaration comes as the virus has already forced the cancellation of most major sporting events and Broadway shows and changed everyday life for Americans from coast to coast.
Declaring a national emergency means that tens of billions of dollars could be quickly spent to help federal and state governments fight the rapidly spreading pandemic.
Invoking an emergency under the Stafford Act unleashes assistance to states from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It also will allow Trump to make good on his Wednesday night vow to let people and businesses defer tax payments without interest or penalties, the senior official said.
The National Emergencies Act declaration allows the Department of Health and Human Services to repurpose broad swaths of federal dollars used for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, the official told The Post.
The virus has infected almost 135,000 people and killed more than 4,900 worldwide.
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