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Trump to Address Nation on Coronavirus

WHITE HOUSE - As the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, and U.S. stocks plunged into a bear market, President Donald Trump said he would address the nation Wednesday evening.   

During a White House meeting with the chiefs of top U.S. banks, Trump did not comment on speculation that he will declare a national emergency and impose further restrictions on international travel.

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President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence, left, and members of the president's coronavirus task force speaks during a news conference at the Brady press briefing room of the White House, Feb. 26, 2020, in Washington

"I’ll be making a statement later tonight as to what I’ve decided to do,” he said, adding that the address would be at “9:00 P.M. (Eastern) from the Oval Office."

"We are going to get the problem solved,” the president stated during the Cabinet Room meeting with the bankers, who pledged the readiness of their institutions to mitigate the economic pain from the spread of COVID-19.

As Trump and the bankers met, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed more than 1,400 points lower, a drop of nearly 5.9%, ending the 11-year bull run for Wall Street — its longest streak in history.

A board above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, in New York City, March 11, 2020.

A board above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, in New York City, March 11, 2020.

Despite that, the country is not facing a financial crisis, Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said in the meeting.

"The banks and the financial system are in strong shape, and we are here to help,” he said.

"We are talking about various forms of stimulus,” Trump said.

"I would say that stimulus is appropriate,” responded Kelly King, chief executive officer of Trust Financial.

"I think the payroll tax” holiday proposal “would be great,” suggested the president.

"We’ve catalogued for the president all of his executive authorities, which are quite significant,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Prior to the meeting, Trump had tweeted: “I am fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with our current challenge of the CoronaVirus.”

Bank CEOs Brian Moynihan (L) and Rebeca Romero Rainey (R) listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with banking industry executives about the coronavirus, at the White House, March 11, 2020, in Washington.

Bank CEOs Brian Moynihan (L) and Rebeca Romero Rainey (R) listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with banking industry executives about the coronavirus, at the White House, March 11, 2020, in Washington.

Just before journalists were ushered from the room, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked Trump, “What do you say to Americans who are concerned that you're not taking this seriously enough and that some of your statements don't match what your health experts are saying?”

The president responded, “That’s CNN. Fake news.”

Globally, there are more than 124,000 identified cases of COVID-19, which has killed nearly 4,600 people worldwide.

In the United States, there have been 30 reported deaths (25 just in the state of Washington) and more than 1,100 known infections.

Asked in a congressional hearing Wednesday if the worst is yet come to come, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, replied: “Yes, it is.”

As the hours progressed, more major U.S. businesses announced they would be requesting most employees telework, while a growing number of universities and other schools canceled classes, moving instruction online, in reaction to the virus.   

"We're still not completely sure how infectious it is, how easily it is spread. And I think that it's wise to take these precautions,” Shelley Payne, interim director at the LaMontagne Center for Infectious Disease at the University of Texas at Austin, told VOA.

In Washington, D.C., local officials recommended that “nonessential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions,” be postponed or canceled.

The recommendation from the District of Columbia is to be in effect through March 31.

"Mass gatherings are defined as events where 1,000 or more people congregate in a specific location,” the city said in its health advisory.

Source: https://www.voanews.com/science-health/coronavirus-outbreak/trump-address-nation-coronavirus

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