COVID-19: $50 billion for ‘National Emergency’ and Drive-Through Testing

President Donald Trump announced the “national emergency” designation in a news conference Friday.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a national emergency for the United States with drive-through testing sites among the possibilities for fighting the global pandemic on domestic soil.1,2

President Donald Trump announced the “national emergency” designation in a news conference Friday. The designation provides emergency funding to mitigate the emergency through the federal Stafford Act. According to Trump, up to $50 billion in funding could be distributed to states and federal territories impacted by COVID-19.1,2

In addition to federal funds being utilized to combat COVID-19, Trump announced an effort to utilize drive-through test sites for detecting the virus.1,2 These sites could include pharmacies and retail locations,1 possibly including Walmart and Target,2,3 and would allow patients to remain in their cars while being tested.1-3

Several US sites have already begun offering drive-through services related to COVID-19. They include Mayo Clinic, which developed the test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.4

"This test should help ease some of the burden that is currently being felt at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health laboratories," says William Morice II, M.D., Ph.D., president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories, in a prepared statement.4 "We are doing everything we can to help relieve the burden during this time to provide answers for patients here in Rochester and around the world."

Other drive-through testing locations have been active in Oahu, Hawaii, and Hartford, Connecticut, and state health departments in New York and Colorado have set up their own drive-through test sites.3,4

REFERENCES

  • Subramanian C. Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus, allowing officials to direct billions in aid to those fighting virus: Trump announces drive-through testing. USA Today. https://www.yahoo.com/news/house-could-vote-massive-federal-102346118.html Published March 13, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2020.
  • Fritz A, Kornfield M. President Trump declares a national emergency, freeing $50 billion in funding. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/13/coronavirus-latest-news/ Published March 13, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2020.
  • Goldstein A, McGinley L, Abutaleb Y. Under heavy fire, Trump administration partners with private sector to expand coronavirus testing. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/under-heavy-fire-trump-administration-takes-steps-to-expand-coronavirus-testing/2020/03/13/f86b481e-6525-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html Published March 13, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2020.
  • Plumbo G. Mayo Clinic develops test to detect COVID-19 infection. Mayo Clinic News Network. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-develops-test-to-detect-covid-19-infection/ Published March 12, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2020.