Readout from the Vice President’s Governors Briefing on COVID-19 Response & Best Practices (July 20)
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.
Vice President Pence reiterated that the Administration is taking serious the recent outbreaks in certain Sun Belt states and offered the full and unqualified support of the Federal government to any State that starts to see initial indications of a rise in test positivity rate and new cases as was the case in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. The Vice President 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 and Governors also discussed the upcoming Congressional negotiations and the Administration’s priorities for a Coronavirus relief package including, but not limited to additional assistance for businesses and American workers, incentivizing a return to employment, greater flexibility for States, liability protections, a payroll tax cut, and additional State support for reopening K-12 schools in a safe and responsible manner.
Ambassador Birx thanked the governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina and recapped the findings of recent trips to those States to receive a Coronavirus ground report. Dr. Birx indicated that many of those States are experiencing a decline in test positivity rate and new cases after implementing measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Secretary Azar and Ambassador Birx reiterated the call for hospital data reporting and the need for transparency. Federal officials have been working with hospitals and state leaders to improve reporting for months and last week underscored the need for timely data reporting that our citizens demand and deserve. Since last week, daily reporting by our Nation’s hospitals increased by 67%. With engaged leadership by governors, we are confident the remaining reporting gap can be closed very quickly. Secretary Azar also announced the launch of a public health data dashboard, HealthData.gov.
Director Fauci underscored the call for State and local officials to continue implementing fundamental actions to slow the spread.
Administrator Verma and Admiral Giroir provided an update on nursing homes and protecting the most vulnerable, testing needs, and pooling best practices.
Participants from the White House Coronavirus Task Force:
- The Vice President
- Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator
- Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
- Administrator Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Administrator Pete Gaynor, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Director Tony Fauci, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), HHS
- Director Robert Redfield, M.D., Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HHS
- Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS
- Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense (DOD)
Since January 2020, the Trump Administration has led over 320 briefings – including 30 governors’ briefings – with over 150,000 State, local, and Tribal participants.