U.S. President Donald Trump moved on Wednesday to accelerate production of desperately needed medical equipment to battle the coronavirus pandemic and said an estimate that U.S. unemployment could conceivably reach 20 percent was a worst case scenario.
Scrambling to address the virus after initially down playing it, Trump said he is invoking the Defense Production Act, putting in place a law that will allow the U.S. government to speed production of masks, respirators, ventilators and other equipment needs.
"We're going to defeat the invisible enemy," said Trump, who said the unfolding crisis had basically made him a "war-time president."
Trump said he would invoke another law that would allow U.S. authorities to turn back migrants seeking to cross the southern border of the United States illegally. The border will not be closed, he said.
Trump said a hospital ship will be sent to hard-hit New York to help people affected by the contagion, and that a second hospital ship will be deployed to the West Coast.
He defended his description of the coronavirus as "the Chinese virus" despite concerns among some Americans that he was making an ethnic slur.