Trump’s coronavirus advice is literally the opposite of what he’s doing

A surprise White House press conference Saturday offered plenty of coronavirus news: The U.S. travel ban will be extended to the UK and Ireland, domestic travel may be restricted, and the president has taken a coronavirus test (result currently unknown). But most notable is the gap between what Trump is saying and doing. 

On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted the phrase “social distancing,” a measure recommended by the World Health Organization recommends to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Aside from staying at home as much as possible, it involves giving yourself at least three feet of distance from others in public. 

You would assume that this tweet means Trump is advising the practice for the American people and would follow it himself. Right?

Wrong.

Hours after typing that tweet with his hopefully well-washed fingers, Trump appeared in the cramped confines of the White House press room (which is even smaller than it looks on TV), closely surrounded by members of his administration and journalists.

Cool cool cool cool cool.

Cool cool cool cool cool.

Image: AFP via Getty Images

Trump was in front of the podium for around fifteen minutes, dropping several telling bits of information. One of them being that he was tested for coronavirus himself last night, which comes directly after his doctor said he did not need to be tested

Trump said he did not know the test results yet. But don’t worry, he reassured those in the room by saying he, like everyone else who had entered, has his temperature taken. (Symptoms of the virus can include fever, but also may not be present in an infected person for many days.) 

But it isn’t just the lack of social distancing; it’s also the handshaking. When asked about the fact that he was still shaking hands at yesterday’s press conference, Trump said it was out of a habit that politicians have.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence revealed further developments on how the administration is handling the spread. Effective midnight Monday, the United States will suspend all travel from the UK and Ireland, adding to the list of countries currently barred from travel. Trump remarked that domestic restrictions could be next, but what that means remains to be seen.

After weeks of relative inaction, the Trump administration has spent the past few days rapidly changing course. Only time will tell what the next move is — and, more importantly, whether it will actually be effective in this crisis.  

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