A 100-page plan that was put together by the federal government warned that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could impact the country for up top 18 months, the New York Times reported.
The plan, which said the coronavirus could hit the population in "multiple waves," also explored options the federal government has in terms of fighting its spread and how to keep the country afloat in the meantime. The Defense Production Act of 1950, a law that allows for a president to order private companies to increase production of essential goods like respirators and ventilators, was one of these options.
"During World War II, our country adapted to the demands of the time to produce mass quantities of bombers, tanks, and many smaller items needed to save democracy and freedom in the world. We know what the demands of this time are, and we must act now to meet these demands," Michigan's Representative Andy Levin and other House Democrats said in a letter that was sent last week.
During a recent press briefing, Trump was asked about invoking the DPA.
"Well, we’re able to do that if we have to," Trump said in response to the question. "Right now, we haven’t had to, but it’s certainly ready. If I want it, we can do it very quickly. We’ve studied it very closely over two weeks ago, actually. We’ll make that decision pretty quickly if we need it. We hope we don’t need it. It’s a big step."
As of March 17, there have been over 4,226 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 75 deaths, according to the CDC.
The government's plan also warned of shortages occurring as a result of the pandemic. "Shortages of products may occur, impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure,” the plan projected of COVID-19's impact on the country, per the NYT. "This includes potentially critical shortages of diagnostics, medical supplies (including PPE [personal protective equipment] and pharmaceuticals), and staffing in some locations."
The plan arrived weeks after Trump previously said the coronavirus would miraculously vanish. "It’s going to disappear," he said back on Feb. 27. "One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear."