Mar 12, 2020 - Health

Trump made 3 false claims in his Oval Office coronavirus speech

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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Trump says he advises coronavirus task force not to contact unappreciative governors

President Trump briefs reports at the White House on March 27. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

"If they don't treat you right, I don't call," President Trump told reporters at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, referring to U.S. governors battling the spread of COVID-19.

What he's saying: Trump said that while "generally speaking," the nation's governors have been appreciative of his administration's efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, there are some — including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — who the task force should not bother contacting.

White House urges public to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people

The White House's coronavirus task force announced tougher guidelines on Monday to help slow the spread of the disease, including limiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.

Why it matters: The tougher guidelines, which will be in place for at least a 15-day period, come as the number of reported cases in the U.S. has surpassed 4,000. President Trump said the changes to everyday life as a result of the crisis could be the "new normal" in the U.S. until July or August.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 16, 2020 - Health

Biden blasts Trump's coronavirus response: "This is not personal"

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that President Trump should "stop personalizing everything" in his approach to dealing the novel coronavirus pandemic, at a CNN town hall on Friday.

Driving the news: "If they don't treat you right, I don't call," Trump told reporters at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, referring to managing COVID-19. Trump said Vice President Mike Pence "calls all the governors," but he advises Pence against contacting those he views as unappreciative.