President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, as Washington struggles with providing Americans with relief and officials race to slow the spread of the outbreak.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said it would free up as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. Trump also waived interest on federally held student loans and moved to prop up energy markets, by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve “'right up to the top.”
The American Medical Association said the emergency declaration would help ensure America's health care system has sufficient resources to properly respond to the ongoing outbreak.
Trump's actions were also viewed favorably on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1,985 points, or 9.4%, its best gain since October 2008. Stocks doubled their gains in the last half-hour of trading as Trump made his remarks.