A federal plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic warns it 'will last 18 months or longer' and could include 'multiple waves'

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, field questions about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is considering an $850 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout as the coronavirus spreads.




  • A federal plan to tackle the coronavirus, seen by The New York Times, warned that the pandemic "will last 18 months or longer" and could include "multiple waves" as it continues to spread.
  • The plan predicts shortages "impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure."
  • The plan laid out recommendations for how to curb the coronavirus spread, including shutting schools and canceling events, and it also urged President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act.
  • The Defense Production Act is a federal law that authorizes the president to "expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs."
  • Trump addressed evoking the DPA on Tuesday, telling reporters: "We're able to do that if we have to ... Right now, we haven't had to, but it's certainly ready."
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A federal plan to tackle the coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, warned that the pandemic "will last 18 months or longer" and could include "multiple waves" as it continues to spread, according to The New York Times.

The 100-page plan, seen by The Times, was released on Friday and was marked "For Official Use Only // Not For Public Distribution or Release."

"Shortages of products may occur, impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure," the plan states. The plan said this could include "potentially critical shortages" of diagnostic capabilities, medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and staffing in some locations.

It added that state and local governments, along with their critical infrastructure and communication channels, "will be stressed and potentially less reliable."

"These stresses may also increase the challenges of getting updated messages and coordinating guidance to these jurisdictions directly," the plan states, according to The Times.

The plan laid out recommendations for how to curb the coronavirus spread, including shutting schools and canceling events, steps that many states and local governments have already taken.

It also urged the president to invoke the Defense Production Act, a federal law put in place in response to start of the Korean War, which authorizes the president to "expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs."

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to invoke the DPA in order to "enable the federal government to step up and take the type of aggressive steps needed in this time of uncertainty."

Trump addressed talks of evoking the DPA on Tuesday, telling reporters: "We're able to do that if we have to ... Right now, we haven't had to, but it's certainly ready."

The coronavirus has spread to over 140 countries and has impacted killed over 7,900 people globally as of Tuesday evening. The US has reported over 6,400 cases, including 111 deaths across 50 states and several territories.

Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, after weeks of downplaying the severity of the disease spread. On Monday he said Americans should " avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people" as part of measures to encourage social distancing.

Though much is still unknown about the coronavirus, experts have predicted that unless urgent measures are taken, the US healthcare system could be overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 cases.

And new modeling from The Australian National University released earlier this month also predicts that the US could see a GDP loss of up to $1.7 trillion in 2020 in the worst-case scenario.

"Even in the best-case scenario of a low-severity impact, the economic fallout is going to be enormous and countries need to work together to limit the potential damage as much as possible," Professor Warwick McKibbin, the study's author, wrote.

NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak

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