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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.

Go deeper

Federal judge says Florida ban on "sanctuary cities" racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing "sanctuary city" policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

Biden steps into the breach

Sen. Joe Manchin heads to a meeting with President Biden today. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden ramped up the pressure on his fellow Democrats Wednesday, calling a series of lawmakers to the White House in the hope of ending infighting and getting them in line.

Why it matters: Divisions within the party are threatening to derail Biden's top priorities. After several weeks of letting negotiations play out, the president is finally asserting his power to ensure his own party doesn't block his agenda.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Dems seek new green deal

Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats discussed with President Biden on Wednesday a plan to exempt billions of dollars of new climate spending from his requirement that his $3.5 trillion "soft" infrastructure plan be offset with additional revenue.

Why it matters: The accounting proposal — a version of "dynamic scoring" — would dramatically lower the amount of taxes Democrats would need to raise while creating wiggle room to increase the ultimate size of the package.