Fact Check: Trump Handling of Coronavirus
Trump is taking a lot of abuse for his handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, a recent essay on caucus99percent quotes LA Times reporting that "In previous emergencies, including ... the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules" and "months into the current global disease outbreak, the White House and senior federal health officials haven't taken the necessary steps".
This is patently untrue.
In fact, compared to how H1N1 was handled, Trump is moving at warp speed.
The timeline of when events occurred when proves Trump has acted faster in declaring coronavirus a national emergency than Obama did with H1N1 in 2009.
1/20/2020 - First US case of coronavirus confirmed
1/31/2020 - Trump admin declares coronavirus a public health emergency
3/13/2020 - Trump declares coronavirus a national emergency
The Secretary of HHS may exercise the authority under section 1135 of the SSA to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the COVID‑19 outbreak.
Compare that to Obama's response to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic in 2009 that killed 18,000 Americans:
4/15/2009 - First US case of H1N1 confirmed
4/26/2009 - Obama admin declares H1N1 a public health emergency
10/24/2009 - OBama declares H1N1 a national emergency
I hereby declare that the Secretary may exercise the authority under section 1135 of the SSA to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children's Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
But ... but ... but ... you're thinking. What about Politifact rating "Flashback: Obama waited six months to call swine flu an emergency after thousands died" as FALSE?
The rating was applied to this article on a right-wing site called Prntly:
h1n1 was a big deal, but Obama didn’t know what the hell he was doing. In April of 2009, the H1N1 became a pandemic.
But it wasn’t until six months later, October, that then-President Obama declared a public health emergency on what was already a pandemic. By that time, the disease had infected millions of Americans and more than 1,000 people had died in the U.S.
Notice the phrase I highlighted -- public health emergency. Yes, it's false that the public health emergency declaration took 6 months. It actually took just 11 days, the exact same amount of time as Trump's. Instead, it was Obama's national emergency declaration that took 6 months, while Trump issued his in less than 2 months.
My verdict: Wrong emergency declaration, right time frame. Politifact should have acknowledged this fact but didn't.