White House coronavirus briefings draw Monday Night Football ratings

President Trump's press briefing with members of the Coronavirus Task Force. (left to right: Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Seema Verma, Dr. Jerome Adams, President Trump, Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Ben Carson)

The president, who has taken the lead in the task force’s daily updates to the nation, has attracted an average audience of about 8.5 million viewers on cable news — about the number of viewers who watched the season finale of “The Bachelor,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing Nielsen numbers.

And as the outbreak continues to surge across the country and more Americans abide by shelter-in-place orders in a number of states, the viewership is increasing.

Monday’s briefing drew 12.2 million people on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, ratings similar to those of “Monday Night Football.”

Fox News [had] 6.2 million viewers on Monday, numbers on par with popular prime-time shows.

The newspaper said millions more are watching on the traditional networks — ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as online — but they offer less reliable numbers than the cable stations because of the way Nielsen ratings are measured.

…[The president] initially held the COVID-19 briefings from the Oval Office and in the Rose Garden but permanently moved them inside the White House on March 14.

Vice President Mike Pence, who heads up the White House task force, once began the briefings, but the president soon began making announcements at the outset and fielding questions from reporters.

…[The president] schedules [the updates] in the White House briefing room for around 5 p.m. and they routinely [last up to an hour and a half, including updates from members of the task force, as well as Q&A with reporters].

Visit the Coronavirus Task Force website at: coronavirus.gov.

Published at NYPost .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Post.


1. How often does President Trump and the White House coronavirus task force hold press briefings?

2. What is the purpose of the briefings?

3. What is significant about the number of people tuning in to the briefings?

4. Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force have been giving detailed updates on the progress being made. What position does each of the following hold?:
a) Vice President Mike Pence
b) Dr. Deborah Birx
c) Dr. Anthony Fauci
d) Dr. Jerome Adams
e) Alex Azar

5. Watch a press briefing. Watch the entire briefing. (Links to previous press briefings are provided under “Resources” below the questions – or watch today’s or tomorrow’s). What type of information do you learn about what the Trump administration is doing in any of the following areas:

  • getting the needed equipment to the states (respirators, ventilators…)
  • working with private businesses to coordinate production of needed equipment
  • developing a vaccine
  • treatment
  • coronavirus test
  • the economy/helping people hurt by the shutdowns, etc.


President Trump and the Task Force are holding nearly daily press conferences to provide the American people with the latest information. The following is a partial list of steps being taken: (from Washington Examiner)


  • To leverage the resources of the entire government, the president created a White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate response. Vice President Pence named to head the Task Force.
  • Vice President Pence named Dr. Deborah Birx to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.
  • The president has held multiple teleconferences with our nation’s governors to coordinate response efforts and offer his full support.
  • The president has approved major disaster declarations for impacted states like New York, Washington, and California.


  • The administration is working to help accelerate the development of therapeutics and a vaccine to combat the coronavirus.
  • The FDA is evaluating existing drugs that could serve as potential therapeutics for coronavirus patients.
  • The administration is actively working with drug manufacturers to monitor any potential drug supply chain issues.
  • The administration is expanding research and consulting with experts to better understand the transmission of coronavirus.
  • The National Institutes of Health has announced the beginning of a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine candidate.


  • The FDA issued emergency approval for new commercial coronavirus tests to significantly expand testing across the country.
  • The president secured legislation that will ensure Americans are able to be tested for free.
  • The administration is working with state and local partners and the private sector to open up drive-through testing sites.
  • The administration is working with the private sector to develop a website that Americans can utilize to determine whether they need a test and, if so, where to get it.
  • HHS is providing funding to help accelerate the development of rapid diagnostic tests for the coronavirus.
  • The FDA cut red tape to expand testing availability.
  • Admiral Brett Giroir – the Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the Public Health Service – has been appointed to coordinate coronavirus testing efforts.
  • The FDA is empowering states to authorize tests developed and used by laboratories in their states.


  • The Small Business Administration has announced disaster loans which provide impacted businesses with up to $2 million.
  • SBA relaxed criteria for disaster assistance loans – expanding small businesses’ access to economic assistance.
  • The president directed the Energy Department to purchase large quantities of crude oil for the strategic reserve.
  • Trump has held calls and meetings with business leaders from the pharmaceutical industry, airlines, health insurers, grocery stores, retail stores, banks, and more.
  • The Treasury Department approved the establishment of the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility to provide liquidity to the financial system.


  • Negotiated legislation which will provide tax credits for eligible businesses that give paid leave to Americans affected by the virus.
  • Took action to provide more flexibility in unemployment insurance programs for workers impacted by the coronavirus.
  • The Treasury Department moved tax day from April 15 to July 15.
  • Trump signed legislation providing funding and flexibility for emergency nutritional aid for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families.
  • USDA announced new flexibilities to allow meal service during school closures.
  • USDA announced a new collaboration with the private sector to deliver nearly 1,000,000 meals a week to students in rural schools closed due to the coronavirus.
  • The administration is halting foreclosures and evictions for families with FHA-insured mortgages.
  • The Department of Labor announced up to $100 million in dislocated worker grants in response to the coronavirus national health emergency.
  • The White House worked with the private sector to launch a central website where families, students, and educators can access online education technologies.
  • Trump signed legislation to provide continuity in educational benefits for veterans and their families who attend schools that have had to switch from in-person to online learning due to the coronavirus.
  • The Department of Education has given broad approval to colleges and universities to allow them to more easily move their classes online.
  • The Department of Education set interest rates on all federally-held student loans to 0% for at least 60 days.
  • The Department of Education announced borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments on federally-held student loans for at least two months.
  • The Department of Education is providing waivers for federal testing requirements to states that have had to close schools.

(excerpted from washingtonexaminer)


Each daily press briefing includes updates from President Trump and members of the White House coronavirus task force, then Q&A with reporters:

  • 3/25/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/24/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/23/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/22/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/21/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/20/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/19/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/18/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Conference
  • 3/17/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/16/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/15/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
  • 3/14/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing


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