Mar 12, 2020 - Health

Trump made 3 false claims in his Oval Office coronavirus speech

President Trump
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House had to walk back three policy announcements from President Trump's Oval Office announcement Wednesday that are causing more confusion than comfort during the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: COVID-19 is already here in the U.S., and in some communities, it's spreading rapidly. Trump's travel restrictions won't stop the infection in states where person-to-person spread is rampant.

1) Europe travel ban: Trump said Americans will be exempt "who have undergone appropriate screenings."

  • His words caused people in Europe to buy tickets at premium prices back to the U.S. in a panic, per the Washington Post.
  • But it will only apply to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen region of Europe within 14 days of arrival in the U.S. It does not apply to permanent U.S. residents, citizens or immediate family of citizens, per the Department of Homeland Security.

2) Health insurers: "Have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments," Trump said.

  • But insurers have agreed to wave copayments for testing, not treatment.

3) Trade: The White House walked back Trump's statement that the travel restrictions "apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval."

The big picture: Although Trump spent extra time making sure businesses knew he'd ease economic uncertainty, stocks fell more than 8% on Thursday morning and halted briefly for the second time this week.

  • What to watch: More mayors and governors are handling outbreaks by limiting mass gatherings of a certain size. In Seattle, that's no more than 250 people. In San Francisco and Washington, D.C., it's no more than 1,000.
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