March 21, 2020
Contact: Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division
FEMA Leads Unprecedented Federal Response to Coronavirus
This is a whole of government response. Like all emergencies, response is most successful when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported.
The federal government continues to take aggressive and proactive steps to address coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the health and safety of the American people remain a top priority. FEMA now leads federal operations on behalf of the White House Coronavirus Task Force; who oversees the whole-of-government response to the pandemic. As part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, HHS will continue to provide their subject matter expertise as the nation’s pre-eminent public health responders.
On March 13, 2020, President Trump took decisive, unprecedented action by declaring a nationwide emergency pursuant to Sec. 501(b) of Stafford Act. The President’s action cuts red tape and bureaucracy and avoids Governors needing to request individual emergency declarations. The nationwide emergency declaration increases federal support to the White House Task Force as it leads the ongoing federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pursuant to this declaration, FEMA, in coordination with HHS, will assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments and other eligible entities with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public.
As of March 20, 2020, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five territories and one tribe are working directly with FEMA under the Nationwide Emergency Declaration for COVID-19. On March 20, 2020, President Trump declared a major disaster declaration for the state of New York making federal funding available for crisis counseling services in addition to emergency protective measures.
To help the American public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), FEMA has created a Rumor Control page on FEMA.gov – the public can help control the spread of rumors by sharing our page: fema.gov/coronavirus.
Please see attached for additional information on FEMA’s response efforts, including eligibility under the National Emergency Declaration, Community Based Testing Sites (CBTS) and the Defense Production Act.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of External Affairs, Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to help people before, during and after disasters.
Follow FEMA online, on Twitter @FEMA or @FEMAEspanol, on FEMA’s Facebook page or Espanol page and at FEMA’s YouTube account. Also, follow Administrator Pete Gaynor’s activities @FEMA_Pete.