All The Things Trump Didn’t Address About Coronavirus

Photo: DOUG MILLS/POOL/AFP/Getty Images.
President Trump addressed the nation last night after the coronavirus was deemed a pandemic. From the Oval Office, Trump hoped to assuage the public’s fears and to assure them his administration was doing everything in their power to limit the spread of COVID-19. "The virus will not have a chance against us,” he said. “No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States.”
Trump then referred to it as a “foreign virus” — a note that stands to perpetuate the racism and xenophobia the right wing has used when talking about the virus — and placed a 30-day ban on travel from Europe (European Union leaders have said they disapprove of this decision). He also said he convinced insurance providers to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatment, only later to clarify that he meant co-pays would be waived for tests but not treatment. He also recommended stopping nonessential visits to homes that care for the elderly, who are the most vulnerable.
In addition to the fact that Trump’s speech caused a great deal of confusion, there was also a lot it didn’t say. As Ian Sams, the former Press Secretary for Kamala Harris, noted on Twitter, Trump’s speech failed to mention paid leave, unemployment benefits, nutrition assistance, or educational assistance.
Others noticed the lack of instruction from government officials around basic survival for everything from workers to businesses to homeless people. He didn’t address how he would prevent overcrowding of hospitals — a major concern of health officials — or how he planned to handle the upcoming strain on resources like breathing machines.
Trump also failed to tackle the testing shortage in his address, when people have been documenting their challenges getting tested for the virus (meanwhile, celebrities like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson and the entire Utah Jazz NBA team have had immediate access to testing). Even conservatives, like Erick Erickson were criticizing Trump’s speech both for its lack of information relevant to the American public and for the multiple times he misspoke in the prepared address.
The Democrats put forth legislation to guarantee 14 days of paid sick leave for workers affected by the outbreak, which was blocked by the GOP Senate. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the MEALS Act to make sure kids who depend on school food in order to eat don’t have to go without. On Twitter, Omar wrote that "22 million children count on their schools for free or reduced-price meals and don't know when they'll eat next."
House members are subsequently introducing three proposals for meal assistance to students of closed schools today. Despite a lack of guidance from the President, politicians are pushing ahead the best they can in order to protect their communities.
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