As COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at a news conference Friday.
In addition to this declaration, Trump announced two emergency executive actions.
"To help our students and their families, I've waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies and will be until further notice. That's a big thing for a lot of students that are left in the middle right now. Many of those schools have been closed," he said. "Based on the price of oil, I've also instructed the secretary of energy to purchase, that are a good price, large quantities of crude oil for storage in the U.S. Strategic Reserve."
Trump also instructed every hospital in the country to enact an emergency preparedness plan. Another issue was the need to increase testing for COVID-19.
Along with U.S., Trump said other countries are working together to figure out ways to increase testing.
"As a result of that action, today, we're announcing a new partnership with private sectors to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus," he said. "We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very safely quickly and conveniently. But we don't want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn't be doing it."
Dr. Deborah Birx, U.S.special representative for global health diplomacy, said Trump asked for an overhaul of the testing approach.
"He immediately called the private sector laboratories to the White House as note and charged them with developing a high-throughput quality platform that can meet the needs of the American public," she said.
Some of the government's efforts to combat COVID-19 have been behind the scenes, but Birx said people have worked to increase testing of the virus. Google is working to create a COVID-19 screening website for people to screen their health and find the nearest testing location.
Along with Trump and Birx, representatives from companies who have helped the government provide health services and other resources for people were present at the news conference and spoke of what they have achieved thus far.
Representatives from Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Quest Diagnostics, Roche Diagnostics, Signify Health, LabCorp, CVS and LSC Group all provided their thoughts on the situation and how they plan to help.