President Trump on Tuesday night falsely claimed that we were short on ventilators because the cupboards were bare when we took it over. The Strategic National Stockpile, the governments repository of medicines and medicinal products, contained more than $7 billion worth of supplies when Mr. Trump took office, including more than 16,000 ventilators.
Speaking at an ABC News town hall event in Philadelphia, he repeated his characterization of restrictions placed on travel from China and Europe as bans that saved thousands of lives. The restrictions only applied to foreign citizens and included exceptions, ultimately allowing 40,000 people to travel from China to the United States from the end of January to April. Similar restrictions were placed on travel from Europe, after the virus was already widespread in New York City.
The president also misleadingly claimed that I was so far ahead with my closing, which he said occurred in January. In fact, states began in March to issue stay-at-home and social-distancing orders, and Mr. Trump resisted those efforts. One model showed that 36,000 fewer people would have died had those measures been in place one week earlier. Even after the federal government recommended social distancing on March 16, Mr. Trump continued to urge reopening.
He wrongly claimed that crime is up 100 percent, 150 percent in New York. Over all, crime has actually decreased 2 percent in New York compared with the same period last year, though murders have increased. And he misleadingly said that the top 10 most unsafe cities are run by Democrats. There is no evidence that crime is correlated with partisanship. Crime is generally higher in major metropolitan areas than rural areas, and more than three-quarters of major cities have Democratic mayors.
He claimed undue credit for calling in the National Guard to Minneapolis. It was the governor of Minnesota, not him, who activated the states National Guard.
The president falsely claimed were not going to hurt pre-existing conditions while Democrats will get rid of pre-existing conditions. His administration has asked the Supreme Court to strike down the health care law that includes protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and in 2017 unsuccessfully tried to repeal it. Democrats and their nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., have consistently aimed to uphold that law.
Finally, he claimed that the coronavirus goes away even without a vaccine because youll develop like a herd mentality. Mr. Trump was most likely referring to herd immunity, which occurs when the virus can no longer spread widely. Public health officials have warned that this could require 70 percent of the population to develop antibodies. Without a vaccine, this could mean an enormous death toll.