Tags: Coronavirus | fema | virus | outbreak | emergency declaration

FEMA Preps for Emergency Declaration as Virus Spreads

officials in seattle discuss the coronavirus outbreak
Officials in Seattle discuss the coronavirus outbreak. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

By    |   Monday, 02 March 2020 01:00 PM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing for a potential emergency declaration in response to the coronavirus outbreak should President Donald Trump decide to include the agency.

Internal planning documents obtained by NBC News show that FEMA is readying itself for an "infectious disease emergency declaration" by the president. The 1988 Stafford Act allows the president to enable FEMA to assist in relief efforts, usually in the event of a natural disaster, but it can also aid in responding to outbreaks of disease. Former President Bill Clinton made a Stafford Act emergency declaration in response to outbreaks of West Nile virus in New Jersey and New York in 2000.

"To me, this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation," Michael Coen, a former FEMA chief of staff in the Obama administration, told NBC News. "They need to consider all tools available to them and have contingencies for action."

A spokesperson for FEMA told NBC News that the agency is currently working to help the Department of Health and Human Services, which declared a public health emergency at the end of January.

"At this time, there isn't anything additional to the HHS public health emergency," said the spokesperson, Lizzie Litzow.

The White House did not respond to NBC News' request for comment.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide, including two in the United States. As of Monday, the number of people sickened was approaching 100,000 across the globe — which includes nearly 100 people in the U.S.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing for a potential emergency declaration in response to the coronavirus outbreak should President Donald Trump decide to include the agency.
fema, virus, outbreak, emergency declaration
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2020-00-02
Monday, 02 March 2020 01:00 PM
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