President Trump announced Friday April 3rd at a White House briefing that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending the use of non-medical basic cloth or fabric face masks in public.
It is a voluntary measure and is not required.
"You can do it. You don't have to do it. I'm choosing not to do it. But some people may want to do it," Trump said.
The new recommendation is not meant to replace the CDC's existing social distancing guidelines which include staying in your home as much as possible, staying at least 6 feet apart, and practicing hand hygiene Trump said.
The masks can be purchased online or simply made at home.
The face coverings can be easily washed and reused.
The CDC is not recommending the use of medical grade or surgical grade masks.
Also in the briefing, the President announced the Department of Defense is providing about 8.1 million N95 respirators to New York "to ensure the healthcare workers in New York have the equipment they need." He stated they'd be increasing the number of respirators sent to New York from "8.1 million to more," but did not provide a number or delivery timeline.
Another covid-19 hotspot is New Orleans. FEMA will be delivering 230,000 surgical gowns to the city but no ventilators. The CEO of Oshner Health and the CEO of LCMC, the two largest health systems in New Orleans, told the President's team that they currently have enough ventilators.
President Trump announced that Blue Cross and Blue Shield will not charge any co-pays from patients of the virus for the next 60 days. This is similar to what Cigna, Humana, and Anthem is doing.
Also, hospitals and healthcare providers treating uninsured coronavirus patients will be reimbursed from the federal government using funds from the Economic Relief Package Congress passed last month.
Over 9,000 retired Army medical personnel are now supporting field hospitals and medical facilities across the country. An example of this is the manning by the military of the field hospital set up inside the cavernous Jacob Javitz Center convention center in New York City.
National Guard members have been activated to build new treatment centers and assist in the distribution of medical supplies.
The Army Corps of Engineers has assessed more than 100 facilities in all 50 states and is rapidly building temporary hospitals and alternative care sites in states including New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Ohio. President Trump said more locations will be announced "probably tomorrow."
President Trump also announced he is signing a directive invoking the Defense Production Act to prohibit the export of scarce health and medical supplies "by unscrupulous actors and profiteers," Trump said.
He said hoarding and price gouging of crucial supplies has been stopped