President Trump declares national emergency over COVID-19

Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 8:57 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (KTIV) -- On Monday we reported that there were approximately ten presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus spread across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Over the past four days, that number has more than quadrupled.

As of 6:30 p.m. March 13, Iowa has 17 cases of COVID-19 that include the most recent cases in Carroll and Harrison Counties.

Nebraska has 13 cases including two new cases in Douglas County.

While South Dakota is reporting nine cases.

In total, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting over 1,600 cases of COVID-19 across the country and over 40 total deaths.

It is for that reason that President Trump has declared a national emergency to address the spread of the virus.

The president’s move mobilizes the same kind of aid that’s used to respond to natural disasters like a hurricane. It unleashes up to $50 billion in federal aid.

“I’m urging every state to set up emergency operations centers immediately,” said Trump. “I’m also asking every hospital in the country to activate their emergency preparedness plans - to meet the needs of Americans everywhere.”

Meanwhile, the partial travel ban for people traveling to the U.S. From Europe goes in to effect tonight at midnight, further restricting movement to, and from, the U.S.

Top health official Dr. Anthony Fauci says after a slow start, U.S. testing capabilities are ramping up with help from the private sector.

Accelerated testing could mean many more confirmed cases. Dr. Fauci says a crackdown on public gatherings will help.

President Trump has declared five other national emergencies during his time in office.

Most of those declarations pertain to sanctions. The exception would be the president’s February 15th, 2019, declaration of a national emergency on the United States border.

So what does a national emergency mean?

A national emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions not normally permitted. The National Emergencies Act empowers the president to activate special powers during a crisis.

Some emergency powers can be assumed by an executive declaration but more dramatic powers require congressional approval.

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