KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By declaring a national emergency, President Donald Trump has opened up a federal stockpile of resources that can now be used to crush coronavirus.
National emergencies are typically declared after natural disasters. The last time a declaration was made for a health emergency was in 2009 when President Barack Obama did it during the H1N1 pandemic.
“It doesn’t mean things are out of control. It means things are under control. We are working the plan,” said Steve Bean with KCMO Emergency Management. “The plan requires a state of emergency.”
Trump’s declaration will allow health officials and providers in the metro and around the country to skirt normal channels required to get access to drugs, vaccines and tests, among other things, which will speed up access and treatment.
It won’t necessarily have an immediate effect on emergency management, but it will as COVID-19 infections continues to grow.
“We just had a conference call today about the amount of assets we have available locally, that we can go for a certain period of time and see on what we are expecting federal resources to help us out,” Bean said.
Trump’s declaration will allow him to reallocate money and personnel to deal with the crisis as well as suspend regulations to give medical professionals more options to treat people and emergency management more resources for prevention.
“If this were a movie, we are the producers. The director in this case is the Health Department, saying, ‘This is what we need.’ They would go through us to meet those needs,” Bean said.
It’s not just equipment and medical supplies, but money that is now available.
The presidential declaration opens up the ability for local governments like KCMO to get 75% of its money spent on the COVID-19 pandemic back.
For updates on COVID-19, you can text 888-777 to COVIDKC.