President Donald Trump made yet another series of inaccurate or misleading claims at a coronavirus briefing on Friday.
He incorrectly asserted that some states are not in jeopardy from the virus, incorrectly suggested that his February claims that the virus would simply go away have been proved correct, incorrectly suggested again that nobody could have foreseen the pandemic crisis and again made medical claims not supported by solid evidence.
States without stay-at-home orders are 'not in jeopardy'
Despite recent support from members of his coronavirus task force for a nationwide stay-at-home order, Trump said he'd "leave it up to the governors." As justification for this decision, Trump claimed the states currently without stay-at-home orders are "not in jeopardy."
Facts First: It's not true that the nine states without active stay-at-home orders at the time of the President's remarks are "not in jeopardy" or at risk from the coronavirus. Though they are not current "hot spots" for the virus, all of them were dealing with at least 100 reported cases as of Friday, and a third of them had more than 1,000 cases.
Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming did not have statewide stay-at-home orders in place as of Friday evening. Although South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming are among the five states with the least amount of cases in the US, South Carolina and Utah had 1,554 and 1,095 cases, respectively. Missouri's stay-at-home order goes into effect Monday. The state had at least 1,864 cases before Gov. Mike Parson issued the order Friday evening. Virus going away Reminded by CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta that he had claimed the virus would go away, Trump said, "It is going to go away." Reminded that he had said it would go away in April, Trump said, "I didn't say a date. ... I said it's going away, and it is going away." Facts First: Trump never said the virus would go away by one specific day, but he did say repeatedly in February that he believed the virus would go away by or in the month of April -- calling April "a beautiful date to look forward to." (He qualified some of these claims with phrases like "I hope," "supposedly" and "we're not sure yet.") Also, it's misleading at best for Trump to suggest that what he said in February has been proved accurate. Trump did not mention then that thousands of Americans could die before the virus went away, nor that the country could have to implement drastic measures to try to slow the spread of the virus. Trump repeatedly suggested in February that he believed the virus would not exist in the United States by May. "You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that's a beautiful date to look forward to," he said in a Fox Business interview on February 10. "You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat -- as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April," he told governors that same day. "Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that's true," he said at a New Hampshire campaign rally the same day. "There's a theory that, in April, when it gets warm -- historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don't know yet; we're not sure yet. But that's around the corner, so that'll be a great thing in China and other places," he told National Border Patrol Council members on February 14. The virus may go away in the United States at some point, but all evidence suggests it is still spreading widely. And experts warn that there could be a second wave of the virus in the US even after the immediate crisis is over. "#COVID19 won't go away. It'll infect the southern hemisphere as they winter and will want to come back to U.S. in fall," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who formerly served as Trump's Food and Drug Administration commissioner, wrote on Twitter on Monday. "But we'll have a massive surveillance system by then, and I believe more than one drug to both prevent and treat infection. Our tool box will be very different." Details of coronavirus treatments Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both stumbled over medical details, and spread inaccurate information, while touting new coronavirus tests and potential treatments. Trump mentioned anti-malaria drugs that are being tested as potential treatments, saying that the clinical trials are "having some good results," even though public health officials say the results are months away. Moments later, Pence said the FDA had "approved" a new method to test for the coronavirus, even though the FDA only granted emergency authorization for the test, which requires a much lower standard. Facts First: Both comments overstate the medical realities a bit. For Trump, he has repeatedly touted and expressed unbridled optimism about the drugs, even without conclusive scientific data to back up his claims. For Pence, he oversold the FDA's confidence in the new Covid-19 test. In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly touted two pharmaceuticals, chloroquine and the chemically similar hydroxychloroquine, as potential "game-changers" that could end the pandemic and save lives.