Update: Here is FEMA’s explanation of the declaration, which provides additional support via the Stafford Act while the lead agency remains Dept. of HHS.
As of about 3:30pm on March 13, the President said in a speech he was issuing an emergency declaration for COVID-19.
March13: Leading Health Groups Urge Trump To Declare Coronavirus A National Emergency. “America’s health care system must be there to help,” wrote the heads of the AMA, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association.
Still no action from the President, though apparently he is weighing the idea. The Diva wonders what the delay is here.
As Washington state grapples with what may be the country’s worst outbreak of novel coronavirus, the absence of a COVID-19 emergency declaration from President Trump has hamstrung its ability to respond to the crisis.
Update on March 11: Coronavirus is a disaster. Why hasn’t FEMA been brought in?“It might be time to put our national disaster agency in charge.”
Another update on March 11: Why no emergency declaration? From Politico: Trump fears emergency declaration would contradict coronavirus message. “Trump is concerned that declaring an emergency would hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu.”
[Note the author is Michael Brown, infamous as the undersecretary of DHS during the G.W. Bush administration.]
From NBC News: FEMA preparing for possible coronavirus emergency declaration
“To me this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation,” said former FEMA official Michael Coen.