According to reports, President Donald Trump will declare a national state of emergency as the U.S. braces for the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump Will Invoke Stafford Act

It is said that the president’s response to the crisis will include invoking the Stafford Act, which would provide billions of dollars in disaster relief to state and local governments.

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The Independent reports, “The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, coordinates $40bn in funding that could be used to mobilise health centres, patient transports and other needs in the event hospitals and health providers are overwhelmed with patients as officials predict a surge in new Covid-19 cases requiring emergency medical attention.”

President Trump Has Used Stafford Act Before

“Mr Trump has previously relied on the Stafford Act for disaster declarations for California wildfires and flooding in the Midwest,” The Independent noted.

On Thursday, President Trump told reporters, “We have very strong emergency powers under the Stafford Act … I have it memorized, practically, as to the powers in that act. And if I need to do something, I’ll do it. I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about.”

In the U.S. to date, almost 1,700 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the US, though health officials across the country believe that number is significantly higher at the moment or will become so due to lack of testing abilities. 41 people have died so far.

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On Friday afternoon, the president is holding a press conference.