WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Saturday announced it would prevent non-Americans in the U.K. and Ireland from entering the United States and hinted at domestic travel restrictions “from certain areas” in the U.S., the latest escalations of the federal government’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump, in a short appearance during a White House press briefing, also said he supported U.S. restaurants and stores that have closed their doors in an effort to promote social distancing. Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged the public to follow that strategy — in many cases, not for individuals’ own sake but to protect older, sicker Americans.

“We need your help,” Adams said. “Social distancing and mitigation, they’re not to protect the 30-year-old or the 20-year-old from getting coronavirus. They’re to protect your nana, they’re to protect your granddaddy, they’re to protect the people you love in your lives.”

advertisement

Vice President Mike Pence urged Americans who are sick to stay home. He cited a bill that passed the House late Friday that reimburses small businesses — but not companies with 500 or more employees — for providing 14 days of emergency leave to employees sick with Covid-19, and for those caring for family members with the disease. The bill, which the Senate is expected to take up Monday, also expands unemployment insurance and food stamps for low-income families.

“You need not be concerned if you’re an hourly wage earner in America,” Pence said. “You need not be concerned about staying home. If you’re sick, stay home. You’re not going to miss a paycheck because of this legislation that’s moving through the Congress.”

advertisement

The president also said he had his temperature taken prior to the briefing, and that he had been tested for Covid-19, the respiratory disease that the coronavirus causes. The White House said it would begin temperature checks for all individuals scheduled to come into contact with Trump or Pence. Trump said results would likely come within one to two days. Pence said he and Second Lady Karen Pence would be willing to be tested as well. 

The move comes after both Trump and Pence made contact with a Brazilian government official who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Physicians do not recommend testing for most Americans without Covid-19 symptoms, and the White House physician on Friday issued a statement arguing it was unnecessary from Trump to be tested.

We want to hear from you: Are you a health care worker affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Please tell us about your experience.

Trump also justified repeatedly shaking the hands of private-sector executives during a Rose Garden press conference Friday, despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance discouraging handshakes.

Deborah Birx, the physician and longtime diplomat who the Trump administration brought on to coordinate its coronavirus response, issued a special warning to Americans who have lived with HIV/AIDS for decades and may still “carry a degree of immunocompromise.”

“Please take care of yourself,” she said. “Please ensure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure you don’t get exposed.”

While members of the task force, including Adams, Pence, and Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease researcher, emphasized social distancing and travel restrictions as valuable tools for combating the pandemic, Trump doled out plaudits — some self-directed — for his administration’s response.

Trump said he was “honored” by the stock market’s Friday rebound and suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic had “created a number of new stars,” specifically citing Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Fauci, 79, is a renowned HIV doctor who has served as the nation’s infectious disease research chief since 1984, and was awarded the President Medal of Freedom in 2008.

Adams, however, took a uniquely sharp tone, telling the public he felt the need to speak hard truths as “America’s doctor.”

“If we are complacent, selfish, uninformed, if we spread fear and distrust and misinformation, this situation will last longer and more people will be hurt,” Adams said. “But if we pitch in and we share the facts, we will flatten the curve, and we will overcome this situation.”

  • Follow up on my comment regarding Italy. Yes, 2nd derivative is negative. They’re starting to get a grip. Lesson: do the lockdown earlier, followed by massive testing. Had the US locked down two weeks ago, we’d be coming out of this already. Unfortunately, still no lockdown. Still on Italian path.

    • Actually, I am afraid we are already where Italy is. Lack of massive testing and lockdown.

      The government mess this up big time. The Democrat in wasting a month on impeachment and the administration for being caught unprepared.

  • This article does touch on a number of the popular discussions these days. What is also apparent is the author is in the bag with the Leftists. He has several knives that he uses to stick into the back of the President (ex: “Trump doled out plaudits — some self-directed — for his administration’s response.” Shows a need to continue doing the MSM thing, say nothing good about Trump, and if necessary to even hint at something good, be sure you say something bad.)

    He doesn’t mention a much more virulent virus that occurred in 2009, the swine flu, or H1N1 virus. This was one that had no special lockdowns, government impositions, etc., …. and it was during Obama’s administration, so the MSM said absolutely nothing against his non-Leadership.

  • What missed the radar are the airliners. I was in a Southwest fight and I told the cabin crew that one of the possible passenger is coughing outside. I also said I was willing to give that person my extra mask. The cabin crew said they cannot hand mask.

    I was wearing a mask, and the rude lady at my back keeps on coughing and was putting her head in front so she could give me her virus, later on she said I was crazy for wearing protective gear. The cabin crew did nothing.

    Another old lady was complaining about to the cabin crew about me that I was wearing a mask and protective glasses.

    Mike Pence had been giving the misleading message that those who are not showing symptoms do not need to wear mask. The flight came from an area with community spread so you have to assume at least one passenger is carrying it. And people are contagious days before showing symptoms. You also have people who are asymptomatic.

    The government had done the people a disservice time and again. First the CDC test messed up, second the directive not to wear a mask if you are not showing symptoms. Now they are saying that 50s cases in MA was seeded by asymptomatic person, and that asymptomatic people might be spreading the virus instead of the earlier assumptions that they contribute only small percentage to the coronavirus spread.

    I wonder if the old ladies who are thought I was crazy for protecting myself and them from me (in case I already have it) are still thinking the same thing. 50 cases are related to domestic travel within the US. People did not realize that passengers may be carrying the virus.

    I am grateful for Statnews for doing a coverage early on on coronavirus. I am also grateful to commenters who had very valuable informations.

    The airline should be force to follow the CDC guideline to make the people who are coughing to wear a mask and separate them from others. We don’t want the plane to become another breeding ground like the cruise ship.

    How many times have I been that I was told wearing mask are only for thise showing symptoms. Singapore gave their residents mask so they can wear this when they go in public. They are a small country so they can do this. The problem now is you cannot buy a mask anywhere, so people who are sick are not wearing mask. I hear people coughing almost everywhere I go.

    • Actually the World Health Organization advises AGAINST using masks if you’re not sick. You can more easily GET a virus by wearing a mask when you aren’t sick, because bacteria and viruses can sit on the surface of the mask and the Center for Disease Control says you end up having better contact with germs when you touch the mask, when you lift the mask up to eat or slip fingers under the mask to blow your nose (this way you’re transferring germs to the inside of the mask and keeping them right at your nose and mouth). You’re basically creating a portable surface for germ accumulation and the perfect atmosphere for them to enter your system right at your mouth and nose. AND you’re decreasing the amount of masks available to health workers who are properly trained to use them and need them when treating people who are actually sick.

    • Oh sorry, edit: MILLIONS of people get the influenza viruses per year, every year. Thousands die from them. 32 million cases of influenza have been recorded in the US flu season this winter, 310,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 18,000 associated deaths this season. In the US alone.

  • Despite Italy’s huge case count, it looks like the 2nd derivative is right at zero. Saw that in Korea. Will have to look at tomorrow’s curve, but I believe their lockdown MAY be beginning to have the intended effect.

  • Are the domestic flights going to be shutdown today? We are trying to decide if we take our flight or not tomorrow. Please let us know. Thank you. Lauri

    • I’m supposed to fly from Knoxville airport to sw Florida the 23rd to the 30th. Will I get stranded away from home?

  • What about all these people flying from Mexico back to the USA ? Are they free to run around or are they confined for 14 days?

Comments are closed.

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy