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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton's wild ride and possible buyers

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Peloton is having a bumpy ride, and has become a source of fascination among even those who've never invested or clipped in.

Driving the news: On Monday, a hedge fund with less than a 5% stake in Peloton called for CEO John Foley to be fired and for the connected fitness company to consider seeking a strategic buyer. Shares gained nearly 10% on the news, but remained down 16.2% for the year and off 80% their December 2020 peak.

Scoop: Republicans probe NBC over Beijing Olympics coverage

Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFP via Getty Images

Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have sent a letter to NBC Universal executives voicing concerns about "the extent of influence the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) may have over NBCUniversal’s coverage of the games."

Why it matters: The human rights abuses committed by the CCP have been the subject of intense scrutiny ahead of this year's Winter Games in Beijing. Activists last year sent a letter to NBC executives urging the network to cancel plans to cover the Olympics.

Scoop: Trump's new social network quietly courting influencers

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Former President Trump’s elusive new social media network Truth Social — which plans to go public — is reaching out to internet influencers asking them to “reserve their spots” for when it launches in February or March.

Why it matters: The outreach doesn’t mention Trump’s name or affiliation. Some influencers suggest that could be a ploy to enlist their support without realizing the affiliation.