President Trump suspended federal student-loan payments Friday and waived standardized testing for younger students as the U.S. tightened its northern and southern borders and activated wartime-production powers to respond to the coronavirus panic.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, decided to “close the valve” and order 100% of the state’s non-essential workforce to stay home or face civil penalties. His order follows California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to order a statewide lockdown on his 40 million residents.
Taken together, the measures reflect the uncharted waters that Mr. Trump and his blue-state rivals find themselves in as they combat a brand-new and highly contagious pathogen. The administration says they’re singing from the same hymn sheet.
“Gov. Newsom made some very important, difficult decisions. Today, Gov. Cuomo did the same thing. And I want to say, I strongly support what he’s doing,” said Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases scientist, at a White House briefing. “As a New Yorker, I know what New Yorkers can do. We’re tough.”
Administration officials said they will continue to let states take the lead in responding to an outbreak that’s impacted every state but is hitting specific states or counties particularly hard.
Mr. Trump praised coastal governors in Washington state, California, New York and Florida but said the Midwest and other places aren’t seeing a huge burden, so he’s not considering a “national lockdown” order.
The president told states to order ventilators and other supplies on their own this week but pivoted Friday, saying he’s activated the Defense Production Act to procure equipment that’s in short supply.
Author: Tom Howell Jr
Source: Washington Times: Trump not considering national lockdown for coronavirus outbreak