Last Updated Mar 30, 2020 3:46 PM EDT
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has continued to grow, topping 124,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 2,100 have died from the illness caused by the virus.
Here's the big takeaways from Sunday's episode of "Face the Nation" with Margaret Brennan
1. Scott Gottlieb says U.S. faces a "tough April" in fight against COVID-19
- Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, cautioned against any easing of restrictions in the coming weeks as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, instead saying those restrictions should stay in place as the country heads into a "difficult" April.
- What Gottlieb said: "It's too early to lift these measures," Gottlieb said "It's going to be a difficult April. We're going to get through this. April is going to be a hard month. Come May, we'll be coming out of this, we'll be able to contemplate starting to lift some of these measures as we see the epidemic curve come down."
- When should they be lifted? "You should wait until you see sustained reduction in the number of cases for 14 days, so 14 days after you start to see a sustained reduction in the number of daily cases is the point you can contemplate lifting some of these measures we have in places," Gottlieb says.
Why this all matters: Gottlieb's concerned seemed to hold weight as President Trump announced just a few hours after the former FDA chief's appearance on "Face the Nation" that the federal government's coronavirus restrictions, like stay at home orders, would remain in place until April 30th, reversing on his previous suggestion that he wants the economy to reopen as early as Easter Sunday, April 12.
2. Americans can expect coronavirus relief checks in 3 weeks time, according to Secretary Mnuchin
- Americans who are eligible to receive one-time payments from the federal government as part of a massive coronavirus economic relief package will see that money deposited into their bank accounts "within three weeks," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday.
- What Mnuchin said: "We expect that within three weeks, that people who have direct deposit with information with us will see those direct deposits into their bank accounts, and we will create a web-based system for people where we don't have their direct deposit, they can upload it so that they can get the money immediately as opposed to checks in the mail," Mnuchin
- Why that matters: As part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress last week, Americans who make up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 checks, plus $500 per dependent child. The amount gradually decreases for incomes up to $99,000, at which point the payments cut off. Income levels will be based off of 2019 income tax returns for those who have already filed. Returns for 2018 will be used for those who haven't.
- The rescue package, which is designed to help American families hurting because of the coronavirus and inject money into the U.S. economy, was signed into law Friday after receiving bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.
- The Treasury secretary said the entire $2.3T package would provide economic relief for about 10 weeks. He left the door open to returning to Congress for more assistance if needed. As part of the rescue package, Mnuchin also highlighted that there is a $50 billion fund to allow the Treasury to lend money to the airline industry and other national security industries.
- He acknowledged that American taxpayers may end up owning parts of other troubled companies through warrants or equity stakes. "The president wants to make sure that the American taxpayers are compensated. This is not a bailout."
3. Louisiana Governor pleads for protective gear as state inches near hotspot
- With Louisiana seeing explosive growth in its number of coronavirus cases and New Orleans poised to become the next epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., Governor John Bel Edwards said the federal government has not yet approved the state's request for more ventilators from the nation's stockpile. Edwards said he expects to run out of ventilators by April 4th, and that fact keeps him up at night. He also said the state will run out of hospital bed space by April 10th.
- What Edwards said: "We haven't yet been approved for ventilators out of the National Stockpile," Edwards, a Democrat, said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "I continue to press that case, and I hope that we will be cut in for a slice of what they have left there and that we get them in the next few days."
Edwards said the state has also reached out for vendors, placing orders for 12,000 more machines from manufacturers who are already stretched to capacity. So far, Louisiana has received just 192, he said.
- Why that matters: Louisiana's lack of key supply represents an issue many states across the country are experiencing. Edwards said Louisiana received roughly 110,000 masks Saturday, and said the situation with protective equipment "does appear to be getting a little bit better."
"We hope that that obviously continues to improve over time, but it's a challenge," he said. "Everybody is paying more for these items than we would've paid several weeks ago. It's a function of supply and demand." Edwards raised the fact that there is price-gouging taking place and said he is turning over suspected offenders to federal prosecutors in Louisiana.