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Stocks surged on investor optimism Friday after President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 epidemic a “national emergency.”

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said the decision would free up as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.

The President also waived interest on federally held student loans and moved to prop up energy markets, by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve “’right up to the top.”

Trump said he was giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients.

“Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.

The partnership will include drive-thru testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested; however, the President cautioned that policymakers don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “We don’t want people without symptoms to go and do that test,” Trump said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking more than a hour before the president, said that she and the Trump administration are close to agreement on a coronavirus aid package to reassure anxious Americans by providing sick pay, free testing and other resources, hoping to calm unhinged financial markets amid the pandemic.

Hammer and Nigel have more on the President’s announcement and reaction from listeners from 3pm-7pm on WIBC.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)