President Trump Declares COVID-19 Virus Pandemic a National Emergency

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is declaring the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said the emergency would open up $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.

Trump said he was also giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients.

Trump spoke as negotiations continue between the White House and Congress on an aid package, but there was no announcement of a breakthrough, as House Democrats prepare to vote on their own measure Friday.

The Associated Press’ Andrew Taylor, Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this story. 

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