Fact-Checking President Trump’s ‘Historic Coronavirus Response’ Brief
The White House released a brief on Monday titled “President Trump’s Historic Coronavirus Response Brief,” which outlines the supposed ways the president has successfully combated the novel coronavirus. The United States’ response to Covid-19 is globally considered an ongoing failure, however, and the brief contains several inaccuracies or exaggerations. The U.S. is currently leading the world in the number of people who have been killed by the virus at over 165,300 at publication time. We’ve fact-checked the “key takeaways” from the White House brief below.
“Took early action to cut off travel from China”
The U.S. was neither ahead or after the curve in restricting travel from China. The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on January 30. The same day, the State Department raised its travel advisory for China to “Level 4 — Do Not Travel.” In doing so, the U.S. was acting in accordance with many other countries. According to ThinkGlobalHealth, a Council for Foreign Relations program that has tracked the countries that have imposed travel bans on China, 36 countries including the U.S. had imposed travel restrictions by February 2. At the time of the January 30 announcement, the World Health Organization did “not recommend any travel or trade restriction.” Due to its poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. has been on the receiving end of many international travel bans: as of August 7, there are only 34 countries, many of them Caribbean islands, that Americans can travel to. — Yasmin Tayag
“Built the world’s leading testing system from nothing”
By far one of the greatest critiques of the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic is that the country has bungled testing. In the first few critical months of the pandemic, most people who did not have symptoms of the virus were unable to be tested, which allowed the virus to spread unchecked in cities all across the country. Now, six months into the pandemic, there remains a testing backlog, which is forcing people to wait several days, and in many cases…