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Updates from Vice President Pence at Fox News virtual town hall

PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

Fox News hosted a virtual town hall to answer America’s most pressing questions on the current national pandemic. President Mike Pence joined Fox News host Bill Hemmer before President Trump joined the Q&A. Read below:

Q: What is the potential for a national stay-at-home order?

Pence reports that “at no point” has the Coronavirus Task Force discussed a “stay-at-home” order and recommends the 15-day guidelines provided by the president.

Q: Why not just release the stockpile of ventilators to New York now?

We’re in the process of sending the entire national stockpile out. “We are putting a priority on the state of New York, and of course Washington and California, where the outbreak has been the most severe,” said Pence. 

Q: What’s faster: going through the system, or releasing the stockpile? 

The President says it’s an “all-of-the-above strategy.” “We want to use the national stockpile, we want to identify resources that are already in the marketplace,” said Pence, “including what the FDA has now approved to be converted to be used as respirators, but we are spinning up industry every single day.” 

Q: What can we expect as far as long-term changes and how to better prepare for the next crisis?

In these 15 days, the main focus is lowering the number of Americans being exposed to the coronavirus, specifically those most vulnerable. The President has asked the Task Force, health experts and the entire team to bring him recommendations about what’s next. 

Q: What is the government doing to help small businesses?

Right now, Congress is negotiating a bill with a provision that provides direct payroll support to keep people on the payroll, even if the business is closed over the next few months. 

Q: How long do you think it will be before all the U.S. could get testing for coronavirus?

Testing is expanding by the tens of thousands all across the country every day. As of last Monday, we had tested 50,000 people; today, more than a quarter of a million tests have been administered. 

Q: How can we accelerate the clinical trials while also satisfying the demands from physicians? 

The FDA is approving off-label use for the hydroxychloroquine right now. Doctors can prescribe chloroquine for the coronavirus. There is no shortage of chloroquine in this country and supply is increasing.

Q: Would you take these pills if you felt ill today?

“I would follow the advice of my physician,” said Pence. 

Q: What is the availability of chloroquine?

Pence reported there is a significant amount for prescriptions by doctors. Though Dr. Oz, who was present for the Fox News medical panel, said, “I don’t think we have enough for all Americans.”

Q: Is there a plan to help small medical practices that routinely provide elective care?

There is approximately $100 million to help hospitals in the new Senate bill.


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