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Fact check: Trump falsely claims California requires people to wear ‘special’ and ‘complex’ mask at all times

At a campaign rally in Arizona on Wednesday — at which there was no social distancing and most attendees did not wear masks — Trump started mocking what he claimed are the mask requirements in California.

“In California, you have a special mask. You cannot, under any circumstances, take it off. You have to eat through the mask,” the President said.

He continued: “It’s a very complex mechanism. And they don’t realize, those germs, they go through it like nothing. They look at you with that contraption and they say, ‘That’s an easy one. …’ “

Moments later, Trump joked that a meal of spaghetti and meat sauce would mess up a mask someone was forced to wear while eating. The crowd laughed. But the President sounded serious enough when he made his other assertions about California’s mask rules that his claims are worth fact-checking.

Facts First: Trump’s story was false. Californians are not required to wear “complex” or “special” masks; basic face coverings, even homemade ones, are acceptable there. Though Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a statewide mask order, Californians are not required to wear masks at all times; they can remove them when at home, when alone in a room outside their home, when outdoors more than 6 feet from others, and when eating or drinking. And while people can transmit the coronavirus or get infected with it while wearing masks, face masks have proven effective in reducing the chances of transmission; they are much better than “nothing.”
Trump’s comments about Californians being forced to eat through their masks appeared to be a reference to an early-October tweet from Newsom’s office that told people “don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites” when going out to eat with members of their households. The tweet was widely mocked, particularly in conservative circles.

Despite the tweet, California does not have a requirement to wear a mask in between bites at a restaurant. Newsom played down the tweet, saying at a virtual news conference that it was posted by “a staff member” and that its intent was merely to say that “if you’re just gonna read a book at a dinner table, it might be good after a while to put on a mask.”

Top health officials in the federal government, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield, have emphasized that the widespread use of masks is critical to the fight against the virus.

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Fact check: No, the media didn’t suddenly change its reporting on coronavirus immunity after Trump got infected

The story goes like this: The media had always said that people who survived a Covid-19 infection would be immune from the virus for life. But once he, Trump, got infected and survived, the media started claiming immunity only lasted for months.

“And until I came along — you know, you used to hear you have immunity for life, right? As soon as I had it and got better, they were not too happy about that…It was supposed to be for life; when it was me, they said it’s only good for four months, okay? Okay. Anybody else it’s for life, with Trump they said it’s four months. So they brought it down now, immunity, from life to four months,” Trump said at his Tuesday rally in Lansing, Michigan.
Trump told a similar story at his Tuesday rally in Omaha, Nebraska: “But because it was me, the press said, ‘No, it’s not for a lifetime. It’s only for four months. The immunity is only now for four months.’ They brought it down, right? It was always gonna be for a lifetime, now it’s four months.”

Trump said much the same thing at a Wednesday rally in Bullhead City, Arizona, this time adding that “they’ve changed the whole medical standard” because of his own infection.

Facts First: Trump’s story is false. In the months before Trump tested positive for Covid-19 in early October, numerous major media outlets had reported that scientists were not yet sure how long survivors might have immunity. While we can’t definitively say there was no media report whatsoever from before Trump’s infection that had claimed survivors would get lifetime immunity, it was certainly not widely reported that survivors were immune for life.

A CNN fact check in July concluded: “It remains unclear if those already infected with the virus are immune to any reinfection. Additionally, it’s unknown how long any sort of immunity would last.” A CNN story in mid-August was headlined, “Are you immune to Covid-19 for three months after recovering? It’s not clear.” And CNN wrote in August about a Nevada man who was infected with the virus twice — quoting Mark Pandori, the director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, as saying: “After one recovers from COVID-19, we still do not know how much immunity is built up, how long it may last, or how well antibodies play a role in protection against a reinfection.”

Even upbeat media stories about optimistic findings about immunity noted that the facts had not been conclusively settled.

For example, an August article in the New York Times said that “scientists who have been monitoring immune responses to the coronavirus for months are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19, a flurry of new studies has found.” But that piece continued by saying that “researchers cannot forecast how long these immune responses will last.”
The Washington Post also made clear in August that “researchers
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Fact checking Trump and Biden

 

Fact check: Trump claims Mueller saw his tax returns and found there was nothing wrong in them

Statement: President Trump: “Mueller and 18 angry Democrats and FBI agents all over the place spent 48 million dollars. They went through everything I had, including my tax returns, and they found absolutely no collusion and nothing wrong.”

Claim: Trump claims special counsel Robert Mueller saw his tax returns and found there was nothing wrong in them.

Fact check: False

Details: 

The special counsel’s probe did not exonerate Mr. Trump on his taxes. The president said it’s likely that Robert Mueller looked at his tax returns and claims it would have been easy for him to do so. 

But there is no evidence that he did so. Mueller’s 448-page report includes no mention of Mr. Trump’s tax returns or any significant analysis of his businesses.  Senator Amy Klobuchar asked Attorney General William Barr about Mr. Trump’s taxes during a hearing, and Barr said he had no evidence that Mueller looked at the president’s taxes. 

Martin Sheil, a retired official from the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit, wrote in the The Hill in 2019 that it would have been very difficult for Mueller to obtain the president’s tax records unless he had already proven that a crime had been committed. He also said Mueller would likely have to go to court to get Mr. Trump’s tax records, and there is no evidence that Mueller did that either. 

“So when President Trump muses out loud that he assumes Mueller looked at his tax returns, he may very well be making a false assumption,” wrote Sheil.

 

Fact check: Trump says “99.9 (%) of young people recover; 99% of people recover” from COVID-19

Statement: President Trump: “99.9 (%) of young people recover; 99% of people recover.”

Claim: Trump claims 99.9% of young people recover and 99% of people recover from COVID-19.

Fact check: Misleading

Details:

Based on identified cases, the CDC shows an overall cumulative case death rate of 4.5%. About 4% of new cases require hospitalization. 

Among young people, according to the CDC, the survival rate for COVID-19 among people 19 years of age and younger is 99.997%. The survival rate among individuals age 20 to 49 is 99.98%.  

But studying the death rate from the virus is complicated because drops in the overall U.S. death rate for COVID-19 coincides with a change in whom the disease is sickening. Studies that have calculated the death rate based on broader antibody testing suggest an infection death rate of less than 1%.  

 

Fact check: Trump says we’re “rounding the turn” on coronavirus

Statement: President Trump: “It will go away. And as I say, we’re rounding the turn. We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

Claim: Trump claims that the coronavirus is going away.

Fact check: False  

Details:  

Cases and hospitalizations are currently rising in the U.S.

  • Coronavirus cases are currently increasing in at least 34 states, according

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