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Vice President Pence said during a White House press conference Wednesday that hospitals should move to delay elective procedures, as the nation's medical system scrambles to deal with those sickened by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: His request comes as states have already reported inadequate supplies of protective gear for health care workers — and as the country faces a potential severe shortage of hospital beds as the outbreak worsens.

What he said:

"We are again today asking every American and our medical community leaders and hospitals to partner with us in delaying elective procedures across the country in our health care system to ensure that medical supplies and medical capacity go where they're needed most."

The big picture: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked the same over the weekend.

  • Some hospitals already started canceling or postponing elective surgeries, MarketWatch writes.

President Trump announced new measures the administration is taking to combat the spread of the virus at the briefing:

  • He said he will invoke the Korean War-era Defense Production Act which will allow the government to sign contracts to boost the production of masks and other medical supplies.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development is "suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April."

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
25 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.