Readout from the Vice President’s Governors Briefing on COVID-19 Response & Best Practices

Today, Vice President Mike Pence led a discussion with the chief executives of approximately 50 States, territories, and the city of Washington, DC, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss local, State, and Federal Coronavirus response and recovery best practices.

The Vice President discussed continued efforts to protect the most vulnerable including the Federal government’s deployment of financial resources, supplies, and technical assistance.

Vice President Pence provided an update on COVID-19 response and discussed best practices with our Nation’s governors on limiting Coronavirus spread, including encouraging Americans to adhere to state and local guidelines and to wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained.  The Vice President asked governors who have helped manage recent natural disasters to share best practices in storm recovery in a time of COVID-19.

Ambassador Birx provided an update on data and trends from across the nation, and discussed her recent visits to states in the upper Midwest including Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin along with upcoming travel to Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

HHS Secretary Azar discussed the Federal government’s recent investment in 150 million rapid antigen tests that will start to become available in early October from Abbott to expand America’s testing ecosystem. Secretary Azar also provided an update on Operation Warp Speed including recent U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) action to provide an emergency use authorization (EUA) for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn further discussed recent EUAs and provided an update on vaccines trials being conducted under Operation Warp Speed.

CMS Administrator Verma discussed the Federal governments support for protecting the most vulnerable including the distribution of $2.5 billion to support nursing home, deployment of point-of-care testing to every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the Nation, and ongoing technical assistance and quality control support from the Federal government.

CDC Director Redfield provided an update on CDC’s recent guidelines for asymptomatic testing.

Admiral Giroir provided an update on efforts to continue to resource state testing needs in nursing homes and the additional support for testing supplies for the month of September. Additionally, Admiral Giroir indicated that initial Abbott antigen tests would be distributed to states affected by natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes or wildfires) in recent weeks. Additional tests will begin shipping to states and other vulnerable populations in approximately 2-4 weeks.

Participants from the White House Coronavirus Task Force:

  • The Vice President
  • Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
  • Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator
  • Director Anthony Fauci, M.D., National Institute for Allergies and Infections Disease (NIAID), HHS
  • Director Robert Redfield, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HHS
  • Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), HHS
  •  Administrator Seema Verma, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), HHS
  • Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS
  • Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Dave Bibo, Acting Associate Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Since January 2020, the Trump Administration has led over 340 briefings – including 35 governors’ briefings – with over 156,000 State, local, and Tribal participants.