WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release new guidelines to families, businesses, and schools on how to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, touting simple summaries in the face of confusing and often conflicting messaging emanating from federal and White House officials in recent days.
The guidelines will be posted on the government’s coronavirus website, and will focus on answering frequently asked questions in the face of more than 500 covid-19 cases across 34 states and the District of Columbia.
“People over the age of 60 are at the greatest risk, and the average age of death is age 80.” Said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. “Putting it in perspective, if you’re a child or young adult, you’re much more likely to die of the flu.”
President Donald Trump joined the first minutes of the Monday news conference from the White House, but did not answer if he has been tested for coronavirus. The president came into close contact with two lawmakers who interacted with a coronavirus patient, a man diagnosed after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The president said he would be reappearing at a coronavirus news conference Tuesday, announcing a possible payroll tax cut and assistance to hourly wage earners who may contract the virus.
“We want them to get help so they do not miss a paycheck,” Mr. Trump said.
The president also discussed creating loans for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus’s economic pain, and mentioned talks remain ongoing with the cruise, hotel and airline industries.
“The main thing is we are taking care of the American public,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Pence later said the Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce new proposals Tuesday for screening and protecting cruise line passengers.
The last time the president and vice president appeared behind the White House lectern, Mr. Trump said the number of U.S. cases stood at 15 and would decline. Reporters in the briefing room challenged the vice president on the statements, with Mr. Pence defending the seemingly optimistic outlook.
“What the president was referring to was that we had people who tested positive and will get better,” Mr. Pence said. “It’s important to remember that the vast majority of people get better, completely.”
Health authorities comprising the coronavirus task force said four million coronavirus tests will be made available, but the timetable on the availability was not made clear.
“We will see a dramatic increase in the availability of testing,” Mr. Pence said.