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        {
            "slug": "context-trump-criticizes-look-back-faucis-early-co",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "In Context: As Trump criticizes, a look back at Fauci’s early coronavirus statements",
            "entry": "<p>Dr. Anthony Fauci might <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/27/upshot/coronavirus-americans-trust-experts.html\">enjoy the trust</a> of most Americans, but in the White House, not so much.</p>\n\n<p>President Donald Trump voiced his wariness of Fauci, the head of infectious disease at the National Institutes of Health. Trump told Gray TV host Greta van Susteren that he didn&rsquo;t agree with Fauci.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Dr. Fauci said don&#39;t wear masks and now he says wear them,&quot; Trump said <a href=\"https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-interview-van-susteren-gray-tv-july-7-2020\">July 7</a>. &quot;He said numerous things. Don&#39;t close off China. Don&#39;t ban China. I did it anyway.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity <a href=\"https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-interview-hannity-fox-news-july-9-2020\">July 9</a>, &quot;Fauci is a nice man, but he&#39;s made a lot of mistakes.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>On <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/11/fauci-trump-coronavirus/\">July 11</a>, the Washington Post reported that White House staff released a statement saying that &quot;several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The Post said the statement included a long list of Fauci&rsquo;s alleged errors. Among them, doubt that people without symptoms could play a significant role in spreading the virus, and a late February comment that &quot;at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you&rsquo;re doing on a day-by-day basis.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Some of the criticisms of Fauci focus on statements that came when little was known about the disease. Others overlook the caveats he included with his reassuring words.</p>\n\n<p>Fauci&rsquo;s comments also came in the context of Trump, who offered a drumbeat of encouragement. In mid February, Trump said &quot;we&rsquo;re in very good shape,&quot; and near the end of the month that &quot;the coronavirus is very much under control.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><em><strong>RELATED:</strong></em> <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/20/how-donald-trump-responded-coronavirus-pandemic/\">Timeline: How Donald Trump responded to the coronavirus pandemic</a></p>\n\n<p>PolitiFact <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/apr/29/steve-bannon/did-fauci-tell-us-not-worry-about-coronavirus/\">has</a> fact-checked <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/apr/03/jesse-watters/are-covid-19-travel-restrictions-more-critical-sav/\">several</a> misleading <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/apr/13/deanna-lorraine/tweet-amplified-trump-misleads-faucis-late-februar/\">claims</a> about what Fauci has said. Here is a summary of Fauci in his own words on the travel ban, wearing masks, the size of the threat, and the risk of asymptomatic transmission.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Banning most travelers from China</div>\n\n<p>A few days after Jan. 21 &mdash; when the first confirmed case of the virus in the United States was reported &mdash; Fauci and other top health officials gave a closed-door briefing to a group of senators. After the Jan. 24 briefing, Fauci told a reporter with <a href=\"https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/lfG-uPOaVGA2qlV4OSZnQg2\">S&amp;P Global</a> that restricting travel was &quot;not a good idea at this time.&quot; Fauci said it &quot;would create a lot of disruption, economically and otherwise, and it wouldn&#39;t necessarily have a positive effect.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/479771-health-officials-brief-senators-on-coronavirus-as-infections-spread\">The Hill</a> reported that as Fauci left the briefing, he said &quot;it&rsquo;s not something that I think we&#39;re even considering.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Fauci was generally supportive of the Chinese travel restrictions Trump announced on Jan. 31, but he cautioned that its impact would be limited.</p>\n\n<p>A month later, Fauci was interviewed on Fox Business.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We&#39;ve done really quite well thus far, and I think one of the reasons why is that what we did early on was that travel restriction from China, preventing a lot of people who are infected, particularly from Wuhan, from coming into the country,&quot; he said Feb. 28 on &quot;Lou Dobbs Tonight.&quot; &quot;We have a challenge ahead of us because as this virus spreads globally, it becomes even more challenging for us to prevent cases from coming here.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>That was similar to what he told Dobbs previously on Feb. 13.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;If in fact, this virus starts to seed itself in a sustained way in other countries, we will be dealing with a global pandemic,&quot; Fauci told Dobbs. &quot;And if we have a global pandemic, Lou, as difficult as this is to accept, we will have a big problem in this country.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Wearing masks</div>\n\n<p>It wasn&rsquo;t until <a href=\"https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/03/826219824/president-trump-says-cdc-now-recommends-americans-wear-cloth-masks-in-public\">April 3</a> that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people cover their faces in public. Early on, Fauci said mask use by the general public would have little value in preventing someone from contracting the disease. Some of his comments came at a time when the country faced a severe shortage of the N-95 masks that can protect against the virus.</p>\n\n<p>Fauci said this on <a href=\"https://www.today.com/video/coronavirus-spreads-for-1st-time-in-us-how-serious-are-risks-77874245578\">Jan. 31 on NBC&rsquo;s &quot;Today Show&quot;</a>: &quot;Those kinds of masks that you just get in a store don&#39;t keep the virus out. Probably the one thing they do the most is they prevent you from touching your nose and your face, which is even more important than trying to keep out virus with a mask that actually lets virus through.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>CNN, Feb. 2, 2020: &quot;The masks are not perfect. They&#39;re not going to prevent all the viruses, the particles to get through. They may prevent some of the &mdash; when you sneeze and you cough and you have those particles that come out...It may be better than no mask, but it&#39;s not 100% protection, that&#39;s for sure.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>On <a href=\"https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/02/17/nih-disease-official-anthony-fauci-risk-of-coronavirus-in-u-s-is-minuscule-skip-mask-and-wash-hands/4787209002/\">Feb. 19</a>, USA Today reported that Fauci said to the newspaper&rsquo;s editorial board, &quot;&#39;Should I start wearing a mask?&#39; Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In a <a href=\"https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/coronavirus/read-the-full-covid-19-qa-with-stephen-curry-and-dr-fauci/2263135/\">March 27 interview</a>, Fauci said given the shortage of masks, the general public ranked last behind doctors and nurses, and people who are infected.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;When we say you don&#39;t need to wear a mask, what we&#39;re really saying is make sure you prioritize it first for the people who need the mask,&quot; Fauci said. &quot;In a perfect world, if you had all the masks you wanted, then you could get some degree of protection, but make sure you prioritize it well.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How big a risk or threat does the coronavirus pose</div>\n\n<p>In the early months, Fauci followed the practice of telling reporters how the situation stood at the moment &mdash; which, given relatively few cases, was generally encouraging &mdash; but warning that the situation could change.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>On Jan. 20, Fauci told CNN, &quot;It really is an evolving situation, and we have to be prepared for the worst. I mean, I don&#39;t think there is cause for panic on anyone&#39;s part but we certainly need to be following it and watching this very carefully.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The next day, the first country had its first confirmed case. On Fox Business&rsquo; &quot;Lou Dobbs Tonight&quot;, Fauci said &quot;I believe it can still be stopped, Lou, and it&#39;s completely impossible to predict what the scope is going to be, what the kinetic is going to be. &hellip; this is something that will likely spread more before we actually get it under control.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>With <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/previouscases.html\">just 15 cases</a> reported as of Feb. 22, Fauci told CNN, &quot;At this particular moment, Michael, the risk is very low. But, and I have to underline &lsquo;but&rsquo;, this could change and it could change rapidly. Getting back to what you said about a pandemic, if this evolves into a pandemic there&#39;s no way we in the United States are going to escape having more infections in this country.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>On Feb. 29, with cases still <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/previouscases.html\">numbering just 24</a>, Fauci spoke in the morning on <a href=\"https://www.today.com/video/dr-fauci-on-coronavirus-fears-no-need-to-change-lifestyle-yet-79684677616\">NBC&rsquo;s &quot;Today Show</a>&quot; and later that day at the <a href=\"https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-conference-2/\">White House Coronavirus Task Force</a> briefing. On NBC, he said:</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Right now at this moment there&#39;s no need to change anything that you&rsquo;re doing on a day by day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. I&rsquo;ve said that many times even on this program. You&rsquo;ve got to watch out because although the risk is low now, you don&#39;t need to change anything you&rsquo;re doing. When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>And at the White House briefing:</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The country as a whole &mdash; because we get asked that all the time &mdash; still remains at low risk. But when we say that, we want to underscore that this is an evolving situation.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Asymptomatic transmission</div>\n\n<p>There&rsquo;s a difference between someone who has the virus and is about to show symptoms and someone who gets it and never has any noticeable sign. The second type is purely asymptomatic and there was a lot of uncertainty on this point at a <a href=\"https://youtu.be/5DO91C3KvSo\">Jan. 28 White House briefing</a>. The CDC said there were reports of it, but they hadn&rsquo;t seen the data.</p>\n\n<p>Fauci put the question into the context of past coronaviruses.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We would really like to see the data because, if there is asymptomatic transmission, it impacts certain policies that you do regarding screening, etc. But the one thing historically people need to realize is that, even if there is some asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory-born viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person. Even if there&#39;s a rare asymptomatic person that might transmit, an epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic carriers.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>On Jan. 21, Fauci was uncertain during a Fox News Business interview about the extent to which a person infected but not yet showing symptoms could spread the disease. &quot;We know with general viruses like this, it is often that you can actually shed virus and spread it for a day or so before you actually feel sick,&quot; he told Dobbs. &quot;Whether that&#39;s the case here with this coronavirus, we haven&#39;t determined that yet completely.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>On <a href=\"https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/news/video/fauci-calls-coronavirus-worst-nightmare-cases-spike-71169966\">June 10</a>, <a href=\"https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map\">with 2 million confirmed cases in the U.S.</a>, Fauci told ABC News in no uncertain terms that a large fraction of people infected remain asymptomatic and &quot;we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they are without symptoms.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-14T17:33:34-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "fact-checking-4-claims-white-house-roger-stones-co",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Fact-checking 4 claims from the White House on Roger Stone’s commutation",
            "entry": "<p>When President Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence of <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/13/questions-and-answers-donald-trumps-commutation-ro/\">longtime friend and political adviser Roger Stone</a>, he spared Stone a 40-month prison term for convictions stemming from the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.</p>\n\n<p>White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced the move in a Friday evening <a href=\"https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-regarding-executive-grant-clemency-roger-stone-jr/\">statement</a> attacking the prosecutors, jury and judge involved in the case. Stone was convicted of witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing a congressional investigation.</p>\n\n<p>A federal judge had <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/us/roger-stone-40-months-sentencing-verdict.html\">sentenced</a> Stone to the 40-month prison term in February, following the withdrawal of the four main prosecutors <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/feb/19/trump-attack-former-stone-prosecutors-ignores-crit/\">from Stone&rsquo;s case</a> after the Justice Department intervened to water down their sentencing recommendation.</p>\n\n<p>The White House statement largely echoed <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/01/president-who-cried-hoax-experts-weigh-trumps-use-/\">Trump&rsquo;s rhetoric</a> over the years in dismissing the probe into Russia&rsquo;s election meddling as a &quot;<a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2017/dec/12/2017-lie-year-russian-election-interference-made-s/\">hoax</a>.&quot; We found four new statements about Stone&rsquo;s trial and conviction that needed a fact-check.</p>\n\n<p>The White House did not respond to a request for comment.</p>\n\n<blockquote>\n<p>&quot;Mr. Stone was charged by the same prosecutors from the Mueller Investigation tasked with finding evidence of collusion with Russia.&quot;</p>\n</blockquote>\n\n<p>Mueller&rsquo;s investigation was not limited to examining the Trump campaign&rsquo;s contacts and potential coordination with Russia &mdash; an alleged criminal conspiracy that the probe did not establish, according to the <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/apr/18/read-redacted-mueller-report/\">report</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Stone&rsquo;s indictment was the <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/mar/25/who-has-already-been-indicted-russia-investigation/\">final prosecution</a> brought by Mueller&rsquo;s team. The case was later taken over by federal prosecutors, including some who had worked on Mueller&rsquo;s investigation.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/feb/19/trump-attack-former-stone-prosecutors-ignores-crit/\">Two of the four main prosecutors</a> who withdrew from the case after the Justice Department stepped in to reduce their sentencing recommendation had previously worked on Mueller&rsquo;s Russia investigation: Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed.</p>\n\n<p>The prosecutors had recommended that Stone receive a seven- to nine-year prison sentence, a request that <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/feb/19/trump-attack-former-stone-prosecutors-ignores-crit/\">was within federal sentencing guidelines</a> for Stone&rsquo;s offenses.</p>\n\n<p>Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein <a href=\"https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SJC%20Scope%20Memo%20-%202020-05-06.pdf\">authorized</a> Mueller as special counsel to investigate any coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, as well as &quot;any matters that arose or may arise directly from that investigation.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Mueller said the investigation was justified in pursuing Stone.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Stone became a central figure in our investigation for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks&rsquo; release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers,&quot; Mueller wrote in an <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/11/mueller-stone-oped/?arc404=true\">op-ed</a> published after Trump commuted Stone&rsquo;s sentence.</p>\n\n<blockquote>\n<p>&quot;The simple fact is that if the Special Counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation, Mr. Stone would not be facing time in prison.&quot;</p>\n</blockquote>\n\n<p>The Mueller investigation was not baseless.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>A <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2017/dec/12/2017-lie-year-russian-election-interference-made-s/\">mountain of evidence</a> produced by the U.S. intelligence agencies &mdash; and Mueller &mdash; confirmed that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election with the intention of boosting Trump. Their contacts with his campaign did not amount to criminal conspiracy, the Mueller probe found.</p>\n\n<p>Several federal courts <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/special-counsel-robert-muellers-appointment-is-valid-federal-appeals-court-rules/2019/02/26/5c28505c-fd5a-11e8-862a-b6a6f3ce8199_story.html\">upheld</a> <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/21/politics/fact-check-trump-says-mueller-investigation-is-illegal/index.html\">the legitimacy</a> of Mueller&rsquo;s appointment as special counsel in the face of legal challenges, including from Stone.</p>\n\n<p>More recently, a <a href=\"https://www.justice.gov/storage/120919-examination.pdf#page=6\">report</a> from Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/dec/11/william-barr/barr-disputes-inspector-generals-report/\">concluded</a> that the FBI&rsquo;s decision to open the investigation Mueller later inherited was justified. It had both an &quot;authorized purpose&quot; and an &quot;articulable factual basis,&quot; Horowitz wrote in the report.</p>\n\n<p>The FBI opened the investigation, known as &quot;Crossfire Hurricane,&quot; in 2016, after it heard from a &quot;friendly foreign government&quot; that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had signaled that Russia had dirt for the campaign on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.</p>\n\n<p>Stone&rsquo;s conviction was related specifically to false statements he made and actions he took that impeded a congressional investigation into Russian election interference, according to his <a href=\"https://www.justice.gov/file/1124706/download\">indictment</a> and the prosecution&rsquo;s <a href=\"https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.203583/gov.uscourts.dcd.203583.279.0_5.pdf\">original sentencing recommendation</a>.</p>\n\n<blockquote>\n<p>Stone was charged with &quot;alleged crimes.&quot;</p>\n</blockquote>\n\n<p>Stone&rsquo;s conviction remains on the books, even if he never sets foot behind bars. And while the longtime Republican operative is appealing his conviction, his crimes are no longer &quot;alleged.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>A jury <a href=\"https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/pr/roger-stone-found-guilty-obstruction-false-statements-and-witness-tampering\">found Stone guilty</a> in November of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and tampering with a witness.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes,&quot; Mueller wrote in his <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/11/mueller-stone-oped/?arc404=true\">op-ed</a>. &quot;He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.&quot;</p>\n\n<blockquote>\n<p>&quot;There were also serious questions about the jury in the case.&quot;</p>\n</blockquote>\n\n<p>Stone motioned for a new trial over <a href=\"https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/16/judge-rejects-roger-stones-new-trial-motion-191876\">alleged bias and misconduct</a> by the jury foreperson, Tomeka Hart. But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied the bid in April.</p>\n\n<p>The White House statement said Stone &quot;deserves a fair trial&quot; and that Hart &quot;concealed the fact that she is a member of the so-called liberal &lsquo;resistance&rsquo; to the Trump Presidency,&quot; which Stone&rsquo;s defense argued can be gleaned from negative social media posts about Trump.</p>\n\n<p>Jackson, in an <a href=\"https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2019cr0018-362\">81-page opinion</a>, dismissed Stone&rsquo;s allegations of misconduct. &quot;The Court finds that the foreperson did not answer questions falsely on the questionnaire or during voir dire, she did not engage in misconduct during the trial, and the defendant did not use diligence to discover the information present in his motion,&quot; Jackson wrote in conclusion.</p>\n\n<p>Jackson said Stone&rsquo;s legal defense team failed to prove that Hart&rsquo;s posts demonstrated that she made false statements during the jury selection process. Jackson also wrote that the defense did not object to Hart&rsquo;s selection to the jury at the time, and that Hart&rsquo;s opinions about Trump did not &quot;reveal that she had an opinion about Roger Stone, which is the opinion that matters.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The assumption underlying the motion &mdash; that one can infer from the juror&rsquo;s opinions about the President that she could not fairly consider the evidence against the defendant &mdash; is not supported by any facts or data and it is contrary to controlling legal precedent,&quot; Jackson wrote.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>On Feb. 25, Jackson <a href=\"https://apnews.com/e901f7ac56d9d9b29c5b52d4fe56e61e\">called</a> the jury back for <a href=\"https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2019cr0018-362#page=25\">questioning</a> on whether anything problematic had occurred behind closed doors during the trial. The two jury members questioned said nothing untoward had taken place, the <a href=\"https://apnews.com/e901f7ac56d9d9b29c5b52d4fe56e61e\">Associated Press reported</a>.</p>\n\n<p>It&rsquo;s also worth noting that the jury&rsquo;s decision in Stone&rsquo;s case &mdash; as is required for <a href=\"https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/federal_rules/FRCrP12.1.2014.pdf#page=55\">criminal cases</a> &mdash; was unanimous.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The evidence in this case was substantial and almost entirely uncontested,&quot; wrote one juror in a 2019 <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-was-a-juror-in-roger-stones-trial-we-took-his-rights-seriously/2019/11/22/234d7df0-0d46-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html\">Washington Post op-ed</a> defending the verdict.</p>\n\n<p>Attorney General William Barr <a href=\"https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/roger-stones-sentence-fair-barr-71679591\">said</a> in a <a href=\"https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/attorney-general-bill-barrs-interview-abc-news-transcript/story?id=71696291\">recent ABC interview</a> that Stone&rsquo;s prosecution was &quot;righteous&quot; and &quot;appropriate&quot; and that the 40-month sentence was &quot;fair&quot; &mdash; a contrast to the White House statement&rsquo;s claim that Stone had an &quot;unfair prosecution, arrest, and trial.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Zelinsky, one of the prosecutors who withdrew from Stone&rsquo;s case after the Justice Department reduced their sentencing request, <a href=\"https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/zelinsky_opening_statement_hjc.pdf?utm_campaign=4024-519\">testified</a> that he was told Stone actually got &quot;unprecedentedly favorable treatment&quot; in his sentencing because of his relationship with Trump.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-14T15:18:14-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "questions-and-answers-donald-trumps-commutation-ro",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Questions and answers about President Trump’s Roger Stone commutation",
            "entry": "<p>In Washington, there&rsquo;s a history of announcing controversial actions on a Friday night, when the weekly news cycle is over and fewer Americans are watching. The announcement made by the White House on July 10 was a big one: President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of longtime confidant Roger Stone on charges stemming from Robert Mueller&rsquo;s special counsel investigation.</p>\n\n<p>At the time of the commutation, Stone was just days away from starting a 40-month sentence in federal prison. He had been convicted on <a href=\"https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/07/roger-stone-begs-trump-for-pardon-as-prison-surrender-looms.html\">several counts</a> that involved lying to Congress about the 2016 election. Specifically, he wasn&rsquo;t truthful about his efforts to get information from WikiLeaks on Democratic emails stolen by Russian agents. He also was convicted of pressuring comedian Randy Credico to support his story.</p>\n\n<p>Stone is a longtime Republican operative known for his unconventional, colorful, and sometimes envelope-pushing tactics. Critics pounced on Trump&rsquo;s commutation for Stone, saying it was at least unseemly, and possibly unprecedented.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Here, we&rsquo;ll take a closer look at the circumstances and the historical context.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Who is Roger Stone?</div>\n\n<p>Stone got his start in national politics working for Richard Nixon; he supported his campaign by executing &quot;dirty tricks,&quot; a term Stone often embraced. (Stone famously has Nixon&rsquo;s face <a href=\"https://time.com/5513051/roger-stone-richard-nixon-donald-trump/\">tattooed on his back</a>.)</p>\n\n<p>In 1980, Stone became a co-founder of the lobbying firm that eventually became Black, Manafort, Stone &amp; Kelly. The &quot;Manafort&quot; was Paul Manafort, who was Trump&rsquo;s onetime presidential campaign chairman but who is now in prison for <a href=\"https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/15/what-charges-does-paul-manafort-face.html\">activities</a> related to his lobbying work.</p>\n\n<p>The firm became a powerhouse in Washington lobbying, sometimes taking heat for its controversial overseas clients, including Angolan guerilla leader Jonas Savimbi, Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, and allies of Ferdinand Marcos, then the dictator of the Philippines.</p>\n\n<p>Stone brought in Trump as a client for the firm. While Stone never had a title with the 2016 Trump campaign, he had long been a sounding board.</p>\n\n<p>In recent years, Stone became less of an establishment figure, and he wrote a <a href=\"https://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Killed-Kennedy-Against/dp/1626363137\">book</a> arguing that future President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which historians have said has no credibility. &quot;I would place him more recently on the fringe,&quot; said Paul Kengor, a Grove City College political scientist and biographer of Ronald Reagan.</p>\n\n<p>But Stone seemed to revel in whatever ostracism he encountered, eagerly posting others&rsquo; insults on his website.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;It&rsquo;s always better to be talked about than not talked about,&quot; Stone <a href=\"https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article2766816.html\">once told the Miami Herald</a>. &quot;And the biggest sin in politics is to be boring.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Stone&rsquo;s commutation in historical context</div>\n\n<p>Democrats said the commutation amounted to an abuse of the rule of law. Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn B. Maloney, two House committee chairs, said they would investigate the matter.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Several academic experts in presidential clemency told us they considered it problematic.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The president commuted the prison sentence of one of his longtime friends and political advisers who was convicted of essentially lying to protect Trump,&quot; said Jeffrey Crouch, an assistant professor of American politics at American University. The framers of the Constitution &quot;intended clemency to be used to show mercy to an individual or to serve the larger national interest. The Stone commutation does neither. It only serves the interest of the president and his allies.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Brian C. Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University, said his biggest worry about the Stone commutation is that &quot;it sends a signal to others that Trump will take care of them if they protect him from investigators.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Meanwhile, there is a benefit to Trump in commuting the sentence rather than issuing a pardon. A pardon forgives a conviction, while a commutation preempts or ends a sentence without forgiving the conviction.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Stone retains his privilege against self-incrimination and cannot be forced to talk, as he could be after a pardon,&quot; said Harold H. Bruff, an emeritus University of Colorado law professor.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Is Trump&rsquo;s commutation of Stone&rsquo;s sentence unprecedented?&nbsp;</div>\n\n<p>Experts said that there aren&rsquo;t examples that line up precisely with Trump&rsquo;s commutation of Stone, but there are echoes.</p>\n\n<p>Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who testified against Trump&rsquo;s impeachment earlier this year, offered a long list of presidents who made questionable pardons or commutations in an <a href=\"https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/506876-why-this-roger-stone-commutation-is-not-as-controversial-as-some-think\">op-ed</a>. Most of the actions on his list involved presidential allies or dubious characters.</p>\n\n<p>Neither Nixon nor Reagan offered clemency to figures in the primary scandals of their tenures, Watergate and Iran-Contra, respectively.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The closest analogue might be George H.W. Bush, experts say. Bush, who was vice president during the Iran-Contra affair, pardoned six officials involved in Iran-Contra. One of them, former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who could have been retried and could then have called Bush to testify in his case.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;There was a self-serving component to these pardons that is reminiscent of Trump&rsquo;s commutation of Stone,&quot; said Daniel Kobil, a law professor at Capital University.</p>\n\n<p>Another, Kalt said, was Bill Clinton&rsquo;s pardon of Susan McDougal, who had gone to jail for contempt for refusing to testify against Clinton in the Whitewater scandal. (Officially, the pardon was for other charges). Clinton also gave pardons and commutations to officials convicted in an independent counsel&rsquo;s probe of influence peddling at the Agriculture Department.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;There are analogies, but not precedents,&quot; Kalt said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">What, if anything, can be done by congressional critics of Stone&rsquo;s commutation?</div>\n\n<p>There are few limits on presidential clemency powers, <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2017/jul/21/4-questions-about-presidential-pardon-power/\">as we&rsquo;ve reported</a>. Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution <a href=\"https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/articles/article-ii\">says</a> the president &quot;shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The power of the pardon &quot;is considered one of the least limited powers of the executive,&quot; said James Robenalt, a lawyer at the firm Thompson Hine and an <a href=\"https://www.amazon.com/January-1973-Watergate-Vietnam-Changed/dp/1613749651\">expert</a> on <a href=\"http://www.watergatecle.com/\">Watergate</a>.</p>\n\n<p>This authority can be traced back to the power of English kings to pardon. In <a href=\"http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed74.asp\">Federalist Paper No. 74</a>, Alexander Hamilton wrote, &quot;Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>However, the framers&rsquo; solution to questionable uses of clemency are at odds with our current political culture, Kalt said.</p>\n\n<p>The framers envisioned that that the House would investigate and, if the clemency was found to be inappropriate, House members would impeach the president and the Senate would vote for removal. But with today&rsquo;s high degree of partisan polarization in Congress, &quot;it&rsquo;s pretty obvious that nothing like that is going to happen,&quot; Kalt said.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-13T18:28:30-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "coronavirus-vaccine-where-does-it-stand",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "A coronavirus vaccine: Where does it stand?",
            "entry": "<p>More than four months into the coronavirus pandemic, how close is the U.S. and the world to a safe and effective vaccine? Scientists say they see steady progress and are expressing cautious optimism that a vaccine could be ready by spring of 2021.</p>\n\n<p>As of early July, there were roughly 160 vaccine projects under way worldwide, according to the <a href=\"https://www.who.int/who-documents-detail/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines\">World Health Organization</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Generally, a vaccine trial has several phases. In an initial phase, the vaccine is given to 20 to 100 healthy volunteers. The focus in this phase is to make sure the vaccine is safe, and to note any side effects.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>In the second phase, there are hundreds of volunteers. In addition to monitoring safety, researchers try to determine whether shots produce an immune-system response.</p>\n\n<p>The third phase involves thousands of patients. This phase continues the goals of the first two, but adds a focus on how effective the vaccine is. This phase also collects data on more unusual negative side effects.</p>\n\n<p>In ordinary circumstances, these phases take years to complete. But for coronavirus, the timeline is being shortened. This has spurred more public-private partnerships and significantly increased funding.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Here&rsquo;s a rundown of the 10 vaccine candidates that are furthest along in the clinical phases:</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The two vaccine candidates that are furthest along are both in phase 3.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>One is being <a href=\"https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/coronavirus-vaccine-updates-moderna-pfizer-more-n1202886\">developed by researchers</a> at Oxford University in the U.K. It uses a weakened version of a virus that causes common colds in chimpanzees. Researchers then added proteins, known as antigens, from the novel coronavirus, in the hope that these could prime the human immune system to fight the virus once it encounters it.</p>\n\n<p>The other candidate in a phase 3 trial is being developed in China. It uses a killed, and thus safe, version of the novel coronavirus to spur an immune reaction.</p>\n\n<p>Two others have made it as far as phase 2, while six others are finishing their phase 1 trials while also beginning phase 2 trials.</p>\n\n<p>These candidates are being developed by a mix of corporations and institutions in several countries. These efforts seek to leverage a range of different technologies.</p>\n\n<p>One uses RNA material that provides the instructions for a body to produce the needed antigens itself. This is a relatively untested approach to vaccination, but if it works, it has aspects that could make it easier to manufacture. Another approach is similar, but uses DNA instead of RNA.</p>\n\n<p>One U.S. biotech firm, Novavax, is receiving federal funding to produce a vaccine that uses a lab-made protein to inspire an immune response.</p>\n\n<p>Beyond these, another 11 vaccine candidates are in phase 1 clinical trials, while another 139 haven&rsquo;t reached the clinical phase yet.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Having so many potential vaccines this far along is impressive, experts say, given the short time scientists have known about the novel coronavirus.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Overall, the pace of development and advancement to Phase 3 trials is impressive,&quot; said Matthew B. Laurens, associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine&rsquo;s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health. &quot;The public-private partnerships have been highly successful and are achieving goals for rapid vaccine development.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In addition, the fact that several types of vaccine approaches are being tested means we aren&rsquo;t putting all of our eggs in one basket.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We will need several candidates should any one of these experience difficulties in manufacturing or show a safety signal when implemented in larger numbers of people,&quot; Laurens said.</p>\n\n<p>Meanwhile, at a time of rising public skepticism of government and vaccines, the Food and Drug Administration recently released additional guidelines on vaccine effectiveness. The new guidance requires vaccines to prevent or decrease the severity of the disease at least 50% of the time if they are to win the agency&rsquo;s approval.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The FDA guidelines &quot;reaffirmed the very rigorous FDA process for approving any vaccine. That gives a great deal of reassurance that this was going to be handled by the book,&quot; said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. &quot;The more we talk about doing things fast, the more the public thinks, &lsquo;They&rsquo;re probably cutting corners.&rsquo;&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How fast will we have access to a workable vaccine?</div>\n\n<p>In early April, Kathleen M. Neuzil, director of the University of Maryland&rsquo;s vaccine center, told <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/06/race-create-coronavirus-vaccine-primer/\">PolitiFact</a> that if all went well, there might be five or six vaccines in trials within six months. Now, three and a half months later, there are two to three times that number.</p>\n\n<p>Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other officials have remained consistent in their estimation of the timeline: 12 to 18 months from the start of the pandemic, or roughly the late spring of 2021.</p>\n\n<p>Schaffner told PolitiFact that he continues to see the first quarter of 2021 as a reasonable target. &quot;I think that&rsquo;s where the needle is pointing,&quot; he said.</p>\n\n<p>It remains to be seen how fast vaccines can be manufactured and distributed once approved for general use. Officials are also <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/us/coronavirus-vaccine.html\">grappling with</a> which Americans will get access first. So it&rsquo;s unclear how long a person would have to wait to get vaccinated.</p>\n\n<p>Laurens said he is not overly concerned about the distribution, because that is something that officials have long experience with. &quot;Well-established programs exist for vaccine distribution, including for seasonal vaccination of large numbers of individuals,&quot; he said.</p>\n\n<p>Another hopeful sign, Schaffner said, is that the coronavirus itself seems to be relatively stable. There had been concern that the novel coronavirus, like many other viruses, is <a href=\"https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/coronavirus-appears-have-mutated-what-does-mean-contagiousness-n1201201\">mutating over time</a>. If the virus changes enough, that could become a problem that bedevils vaccine researchers.</p>\n\n<p>But so far, that hasn&rsquo;t happened. Even if evidence emerges that mutations are making the virus more transmissible, or that a new variant is making people sicker, that shouldn&rsquo;t affect the vaccine process. &quot;The central core of the virus would remain the same,&quot; Schaffner said.</p>\n\n<p>During the past month, there has been relatively little news about how much progress is being made on particular vaccines. Schaffner is not worried by the relative quiet.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;In a vaccine trial, if there&rsquo;s an adverse safety finding, the guillotine comes down and that trial is stopped,&quot; he said. &quot;So quiet is good, because we&rsquo;d know if something bad happens.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-13T12:11:26-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "week-fact-checking-trumps-defunding-police-ad",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The week in fact-checking: Trump’s ‘defunding the police’ ad",
            "entry": "<p><strong>&quot;The Week in Fact-checking&quot; compiles short summaries of our best work; the links will take you to our full reports. Want this report early and via email? <a href=\"http://www.politifact.com/signup\">Sign up here</a>.&nbsp;</strong></p>\n\n<p><strong>This week: </strong><em>Trump&rsquo;s &lsquo;defunding the police&rsquo; ad &hellip; Biden on CDC guidance &hellip; Debunking claims about masks &hellip; Are intelligence reports too long for a president to read? &hellip; the Stump Speech Analyzer on Trump&rsquo;s Independence Day speeches</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Ad Watch: Fact-checking the Trump campaign&rsquo;s &#39;defunding the police&#39; ad</div>\n\n<p>An <a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNav5wO5dh0\">ad</a> by President Donald Trump&rsquo;s reelection campaign goes full-bore against those who would support &quot;defunding the police.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The ad features images of looting and violence in the streets, as an answering service narrates with a recorded voice:</p>\n\n<p>&quot;You have reached the 911 police emergency line. Due to defunding of the police department, we&#39;re sorry, but no one is here to take your call. If you&#39;re calling to report a rape, please press 1. To report a murder, press 2. ... For all other crimes, leave your name and number and someone will get back to you. Our estimated wait time is currently 5 days. Goodbye.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>On-screen text references Trump&rsquo;s presumptive opponent in the race, saying, &quot;Joe Biden&#39;s supporters are fighting to defund police departments,&quot; &quot;violent crime has exploded,&quot; and &quot;you won&#39;t be safe in Joe Biden&#39;s America.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The text in <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/08/ad-watch-fact-checking-trump-campaigns-defunding-p/\">the ad is artfully worded</a>, saying that &quot;Joe Biden&#39;s supporters&quot; &mdash; rather than Biden himself &mdash; want to defund police departments. That&rsquo;s because Biden is against the idea.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments violating people&rsquo;s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police,&quot; Biden wrote in a USA Today op-ed. &quot;The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The ad also paints a worst-case scenario for a post-defunding future. While some protesters want to eliminate police departments entirely, others want to revisit the functions of police departments and reroute some of their funding toward social services. Experts say that most defunding advocates do not want violence to simply run wild in a police-free state.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;If police departments were to disappear, this scenario might be plausible,&quot; said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. &quot;But short of that, police departments will continue to accept and respond to 911 calls.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>&mdash;<em> Louis Jacobson</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Fact-checks of the week</div>\n\n<ul>\n\t<li>\n\t<p><strong>Mask protection statistics don&rsquo;t add up. </strong>A popular social media post depicts the degree to which mask-wearing interferes with the transmission of the novel coronavirus. It says &quot;contagion probability&quot; is a very precise 70% if a person with COVID-19 interacts with others, with nobody wearing a mask. If the person with COVID-19 wears a mask while others don&#39;t, it&rsquo;s 5%. When masks are worn by all, it&rsquo;s 1.5%.&nbsp; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/01/viral-image/social-media-image-about-mask-efficacy-right-senti/\">We rated this Mostly False</a>. Experts say wearing a mask is likely to interfere with the spread of COVID-19. But there&rsquo;s no science to back up the 70%-5%-1.5% numbers.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p><strong>Did Trump revamp CDC guidelines?</strong> Biden said in a recent <a href=\"https://www.c-span.org/video/?473520-1/joe-biden-holds-press-conference-covid-19-economy\">speech</a> about the coronavirus, &quot;The CDC tried to develop clear guidelines about what the stages of reopening should look like &mdash; the administration delayed and scaled them back.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/06/joe-biden/joe-biden-correct-trump-administration-delayed-sca/\">We rated this Mostly True</a>. The CDC said that the delays were caused by review and revision that was part of a standard process. Still, the White House did request that the public health agency revise its initial guidelines to align more with Trump&rsquo;s approach of leaving reopening decisions up to state and local governments.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p><strong>The President&rsquo;s Daily Brief and Russia bounties.</strong> Reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan have shined a new light on the daily intelligence report prepared before dawn for the president &mdash; and whether Trump reads it. &quot;The president gets a President&rsquo;s Daily Brief, which is like a mini novel, every single day,&quot; said &quot;Fox &amp; Friends&quot; co-host Brian Kilmeade. &quot;So he gets verbally briefed, the highlights.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/07/brian-kilmeade/whats-presidents-daily-brief-not-mini-novel-fox-ne/\">We rated that False</a>. The top-secret document is written for quick consumption, experts said. There is no set length for the brief, but it has rarely been less than one page or longer than 25 pages.</p>\n\t</li>\n</ul>\n\n<p><strong>Knowing the facts has never been more important. <a href=\"https://checkout.fundjournalism.org/memberform?org_id=politifact&amp;campaign=7011L00000108c5QAA\">Please consider donating to PolitiFact today.&nbsp;</a></strong></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">The Independence Day speech analyzer: Donald Trump&rsquo;s weekend addresses</div>\n\n<p>Didn&rsquo;t feel like following politics over the Fourth of July weekend? That&rsquo;s okay, <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/06/speech-analyzer-donald-trumps-independence-day-wee/\">we did it for you</a>. Reporters watched Trump&rsquo;s speeches over the weekend, summarized them and fact-checked them.</p>\n\n<p>In the two speeches, Trump painted a grim portrait of a nation populated by &quot;far-left fascists,&quot; people who foment &quot;violent mayhem&quot; in the streets, and a generation teaching its children to &quot;hate their own country.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The most attention-grabbing portions were those where Trump named those he saw as enemies of America and its values: his domestic political opponents. Trump described them as &quot;the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>We fact-checked Trump on his comment that 99% of coronavirus cases are harmless and <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/06/donald-trump/donald-trumps-false-claim-99-covid-19-cases-are-ha/\">rated that False</a>. Based on CDC numbers, the death toll from identified cases is about 4.5%. The hospitalization rate based on each day&rsquo;s new cases has fallen over time, but it sits at around 4% as well. Public health specialists note that there are many ways the virus attacks the body, and even people who don&rsquo;t need to go to the hospital can suffer from debilitating effects over the long term. There&rsquo;s a lot more to be learned about this disease, but nothing says that it&rsquo;s harmless for 99% of the people it touches.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/06/speech-analyzer-donald-trumps-independence-day-wee/\">Read our full story</a> for more on Trump&rsquo;s speeches.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Fact-checking Facebook and other social media</div>\n\n<p>In recent years, PolitiFact has ramped up its fact-checking of social media and especially Facebook. Along with <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/journalismproject/programs/third-party-fact-checking/selecting-partners\">other fact-checkers around the world</a>, we partner with Facebook to debunk misinformation on its platform. Here are some of our recent checks.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<ul>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>Coronavirus testing results are not being faked. Facebook posts claim that labs are manipulating coronavirus tests to create false-positive results. We could find no evidence to back that up; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/02/facebook-posts/fact-checking-claims-about-nurses-getting-nothing-/\">we rated this False</a>. The source of the claim said it was a &quot;word-of-mouth story&quot; from his mom without proof. Similar unproven claims about tests have circulated for weeks that echo months-old conspiracy theories about the pandemic. While COVID-19 tests sometimes produce false-positive results, there is no evidence that labs are deliberately manipulating samples. Experts are more concerned about false-negatives, which could pose health consequences.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>Masks cause &lsquo;fungus infection&rsquo;? No. &quot;You can&rsquo;t make this up,&quot; begins a Facebook post. &quot;NYS hospitals reporting thousands of fungus lung infections due to wearing a mask!!&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/07/facebook-posts/no-new-york-state-hospitals-didnt-report-thousands/\">We rated this False</a>. (Apparently you CAN <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/06/facebook-posts/mask-wearing-causing-fungal-lung-infections-no-ano/\">make this up</a>.) A spokesperson for Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York state, told PolitiFact that she checked out the claim with multiple infectious-disease doctors &quot;and they have not heard of this or are aware of this.&quot; Two other health care officials we checked with said the same thing.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>More phony Jeffrey Epstein photos. A photo of Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump was doctored so that it looks like Trump is embracing Jeffrey Epstein. In the original image, Trump is embracing his daughter. We rated the claim that a photo shows Trump embracing Epstein in the back of a limousine <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/08/viral-image/photo-donald-trump-and-jeffrey-epstein-limo-fake/\">as Pants on Fire!</a></p>\n\t</li>\n</ul>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Pants on Fire</div>\n\n<p>Do you smell smoke?&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Here&#39;s your Pants on Fire fact-check of the week:&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/02/facebook-posts/no-taylor-swift-didnt-say-we-should-remove-statue-/\">No, Taylor Swift does not want the Statue of Liberty removed</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The pop star has called for the removal of statues that honor Confederates, not the Statue of Liberty.</p>\n\n<p>See what else we&#39;ve rated <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/pants-fire/\">Pants on Fire</a> this week.&nbsp;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-11T16:30:40-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "biden-rolls-out-plan-economic-recovery-attacks-tru",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The Stump Speech Analyzer: Biden rolls out plan for economy, attacks Trump’s divisive rhetoric",
            "entry": "<p><em><strong>Editor&rsquo;s note</strong>: PolitiFact&rsquo;s Stump Speech Analyzer looks at the content and accuracy of candidate stump speeches. Following our summary of the speech&rsquo;s main themes, we present fact-checks of specific talking points. Read our previous stump speech analyzers for <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jan/23/stump-speech-analyzer-joe-biden/\">Joe Biden</a> and the <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/feb/12/how-accurate-are-candidates-stump-our-stump-speech/\">Democratic primary field</a>.</em></p>\n\n<p><strong>The speech</strong>: Biden&rsquo;s 30-minute <a href=\"https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/joe-biden-speech-transcript-on-economic-recovery-plan-july-9\">speech</a> in Dunmore, Pa., July 9, 2020.</p>\n\n<p>Leaning into his background as a Scranton, Pa., native, former Vice President Joe Biden laid out his plans to help small businesses and families recover from the pandemic at a stump speech in the state.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, criticized President Donald Trump on the economy, called out his divisive rhetoric and challenged his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans will benefit him,&quot; Biden said in a speech in Dunmore, Pa. &quot;We have a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, a climate crisis. We need to come together to solve these crises, to solve them as Americans.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Biden is proposing a $15 minimum wage, advancing the country&#39;s manufacturing sector and tightening &quot;Buy American&quot; rules.</p>\n\n<p>He also pushed for paid family and medical leave and improved sanitary conditions for workers. He said he wants the U.S. to spend $45 million on <a href=\"https://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.html\">Title I schools</a>, which have high numbers of children from low-income families.</p>\n\n<p>Biden focused on the impact of the pandemic on women and people of color and said he wants to make it easier for families to afford child care and fight for fairer wages for caretakers of children and older people.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;This is our moment to imagine and to build a new American economy for our families and for our communities. An economy where every American, every American has a chance to get a fair return for the work they put in,&quot; Biden said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Fact-checking Biden&rsquo;s statements</div>\n\n<p><strong>&quot;An economy that says investing in American people and working families is more important than the nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks predominantly handed out to the super wealthy.&quot;</strong></p>\n\n<p>This amount needs context. Biden is referring to the 2017 Republican-backed tax law that was projected to add <a href=\"https://www.cbo.gov/publication/54994\">$1.8 trillion</a> to the national deficit over 10 years, according to a 2019 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed in Congress without a single Democratic vote, <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2017/dec/19/who-wins-and-who-loses-tax-bill/\">benefits</a> wealthier Americans disproportionately, but the tax bill does give tax cuts to every income group, on average. (Some taxpayers in each group will not get a tax cut, depending on their own financial circumstances, but on average, each of the income ranges do.)</p>\n\n<p>People who made between $100,000 and $200,000 saw the largest tax cuts, and people making $200,000 to $500,000 saw the second largest share of reductions. People with incomes below $50,000 collected 6.6% of the bill&rsquo;s tax gains.</p>\n\n<p><strong>&quot;When it comes to COVID-19, after months of doing nothing other than predicting the virus would disappear or maybe if you drank bleach you may be okay, Trump has simply given up.&quot;</strong></p>\n\n<p>This is exaggerated. Trump didn&rsquo;t say that people infected with COVID-19 would be healed if they drank bleach. He did, however, ponder the idea of applying disinfectants to the site of virus infection inside a person&rsquo;s body. Following Trump&rsquo;s statements, medical experts and the maker of Lysol warned that disinfectants should not be used inside one&rsquo;s body.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Says &quot;360,000 Pennsylvanians fought on the side of the Union to defeat the flag, that Confederate flag, including more Black soldiers coming from the state of Pennsylvania than any other state in the nation.&quot;</strong></p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jul/10/joe-biden/did-pa-send-more-black-troops-fight-union-during-c/#sources\">He&rsquo;s largely right</a>: More Black Pennsylvanians fought in the Civil War than soldiers from any other free state in the Union. But a touch of clarification is needed.</p>\n\n<p>Biden didn&rsquo;t explain the distinction between Black Union soldiers who fought in states where slavery was illegal or legal, or Black soldiers who fought for the Confederate states.</p>\n\n<p>During the war, 360,000 Pennsylvanians fought for the Union Army, and 8,612 Black men from Pennsylvania served in the United States Colored Troops or the United States Colored Infantry. In total, about 185,000 Black troops served in the infantry.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-10T17:24:14-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "key-questions-reopening-schools-under-covid-19",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Key questions for reopening schools under COVID-19",
            "entry": "<p>As thousands of school districts figure out how and to what degree they will reopen this fall, President Donald Trump railed against the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I disagree with (the) CDC on their very tough and expensive guidelines for opening schools,&quot; Trump <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1280857657365200902\">tweeted July 8</a>. &quot;While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>The administration has tightly linked reopening schools to relaunching the economy. Trump threatened to <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1280853299600789505\">cut aid to schools</a> that fail to fully open.</p>\n\n<p>One lightning rod was the <a href=\"https://web.archive.org/web/20200708220908/https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html\">CDC suggestion</a> that schools consider spacing desks <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/22/viral-image/cdc-has-new-suggestions-how-protect-students-and-s/\">&quot;at least 6 feet apart.</a>&quot; Asked if that was what triggered Trump, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated, &quot;We just don&#39;t want the guidance to be too tough.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The CDC will release new guidance in a week, he said. Now the Democratic-led House plans a hearing on political pressure shaping public health policy.</p>\n\n<p>The Trump administration cited the <a href=\"https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/\">American Academy of Pediatrics</a> recommendation that educators &quot;should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.&quot; For the sake of learning and overall health, the academy said, kids do better in the classroom.</p>\n\n<p>Several groups have offered parents, educators and communities frameworks for bringing students back to school. (See our resource list at the end.) We reached out to additional experts for some of their top suggestions for schools. Cumulatively, their guidance gives districts wide latitude to reopen in a variety of ways.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The resulting quiltwork is unlikely to match the administration&rsquo;s simple message of &quot;get our kids back to school.&quot; Small children have different needs than adolescents. The threat of the virus varies from place to place, and some people are more at risk than others. Poorer and rural school districts face different challenges than more affluent ones.</p>\n\n<p><strong><em>RELATED:</em></strong> <a href=\"https://cms.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/10/covid-19-and-children-what-we-know-and-dont/\">COVID-19 and children: What we know, what we&nbsp;don&rsquo;t</a></p>\n\n<p>The clearest guidance is that in places where cases are surging, administrators should move more cautiously. Some districts, including the one in Phoenix, Ariz., have already announced that students will remain home past September.</p>\n\n<p>Here are the top five tips that emerge from the education experts and reports.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Put a priority on the students who most need to be in school</div>\n\n<p>For the youngest students, certainly kindergarten to about grade three, districts &quot;should try to go back to full time in-person school,&quot; said MIT Teaching Systems Lab director Justin Reich.</p>\n\n<p>Distance learning works worst for them, Reich said. For higher grades, &quot;every family that can successfully pursue remote learning should be invited to do so.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Joshua Sharfstein at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health amplifies and extends the point.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Some kids may receive special services in school that are essential to their well-being, whereas others can do fine spending half the time at school and the other half at home on the computer,&quot; Sharfstein said. &quot;I think it&rsquo;s totally appropriate to treat these groups differently, and offer more in-school time to the first group.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>English language learners and students most at risk of dropping out should also place high on the priority list, along with those who count on school as the one place to get a nutritious meal.</p>\n\n<p>Reich also suggests schools bring back teachers&rsquo; children so their parents are freed up to return to their classrooms.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Rethink schedules and how schools use all the spaces at their disposal</div>\n\n<p>The <a href=\"https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/A-Blueprint-for-Back-to-School.pdf\">American Enterprise Institute</a> suggests schools consider scheduling students to come on alternating days, or split them so half come in the morning and half in the afternoon.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Playing with schedules opens up space, and that allows for social distancing. The American Academy of Pediatrics talked about keeping students in smaller cohorts that stay together and avoid other groups. Sharfstein the six-foot distance could reasonably come down to three feet with these bubbles. And the tactic would apply to getting to and from school, as well.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Buses will need assigned seats, with kids next to others in their bubbles,&quot; Sharfstein said.</p>\n\n<p>Nicholas Tampio at Fordham University encourages any school that can to think beyond the four walls of the school.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Bring teachers and students into an environment unpropitious for airborne transmission &mdash; outside!&quot; Tampio said.</p>\n\n<p>Finland has done that for years, he said, and other countries are testing the option.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Create safe space and new roles for higher risk educators</div>\n\n<p>Nearly one-fifth of American teachers are <a href=\"https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_002.asp\">55 or older</a>. They and any educator with an underlying health condition should be given the chance to keep their distance from their colleagues and students. One option is to assign them to remote learning or serving as a homework coach.</p>\n\n<p>Morgaen Donaldson, director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Connecticut, said this could address the critical need to maintain close contact with students regardless of how they get their lessons.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;At the middle and high school levels, educators should divide up responsibility for connecting with a small group of students weekly while online learning is in effect,&quot; Donaldson said. &quot;This will help keep students engaged, motivated, and hopeful.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Keep the funding fair</div>\n\n<p>The federal CARES Act provided over $13 billion for schools, but additional money is very much in the mix as Congress grapples with a fourth coronavirus aid package.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Some schools come into this with deeper pockets than others, and experts say states would do well to target districts that serve students with the greatest needs.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;They must implement safeguards so that there are not disparities in the educational opportunities and services provided to students of color, low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, students who are immunocompromised, and other vulnerable student groups,&quot; said Stanford University&rsquo;s Heather Hough.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Plan, tweak, repeat</div>\n\n<p>One of the recurring themes is community-wide discussions should shape school reopening. The full range of public health and social service agencies should be involved.</p>\n\n<p>MIT&rsquo;s Reich worked on a <a href=\"https://edarxiv.org/gqa2w\">blueprint for that process</a>, and emphasized that communities should understand that whatever they decide at first will likely need to change.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;This is iterative,&quot; Reich said. &quot;The design as a whole will only work if there is ongoing learning and reflection, in real time, over the course of the year.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Which reinforces another recurring reminder in most of the guidelines:</p>\n\n<p>Just as many states that reopened their businesses are now retrenching, schools should be prepared to pull back on their reopening if the virus flares up.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Key resources</div>\n\n<p>American Enterprise Institute, <a href=\"https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/a-blueprint-for-back-to-school/\">A blueprint for back to school</a></p>\n\n<p>Justin Reich and Jal Mehta, <a href=\"https://edarxiv.org/gqa2w\">Imagining September: Principles and Design Elements for Ambitious Schools During COVID-19</a></p>\n\n<p>American Academy of Pediatrics, <a href=\"https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/\">COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry</a></p>\n\n<p>U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, <a href=\"https://web.archive.org/web/20200708220908/https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html\">Considerations for Schools</a></p>\n\n<p>Johns Hopkins University, <a href=\"https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/\">Analysis of School Reopening Plans</a></p>\n\n<p>American Federation of Teachers, <a href=\"https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/covid19_reopen-america-schools.pdf\">A plan to safely reopen America&rsquo;s schools and communities</a></p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-10T15:48:10-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "covid-19-and-children-what-we-know-and-dont",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "COVID-19 and children: What we know, what we don’t",
            "entry": "<p>Mid-to-late July is usually a time when American families gear up for a new school year. It&rsquo;s filled with back-to-school sales, supply lists and a return to the structure an eight-hour school day provides.</p>\n\n<p>But as the U.S. grapples with <a href=\"https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-coronavirus-cases-hit-daily-record-in-u-s-with-60-000-11594198110\">escalating confirmed daily cases of COVID-19</a>, parents, teachers and lawmakers are wrestling instead with questions about how vulnerable children are to the coronavirus and what role they play in its spread.</p>\n\n<p>Compounding these worries, health officials in some states are reporting outbreaks in camps and daycare facilities, including in <a href=\"https://apnews.com/b8e8f718a506456d5f914af5d3b2e711\">Missouri</a>, <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/texas-coronavirus-cases-child-care-facilities/index.html\">Texas</a> and <a href=\"http://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/06/19/summer-camp-during-coronavirus-will-look-little-different/\">Maryland</a>, prompting fear of the unknown to ripple through discussions of how and when to safely reopen schools.</p>\n\n<p><em><strong>RELATED:</strong></em><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/jul/10/key-questions-reopening-schools-under-covid-19/\">&nbsp;Key questions for reopening schools under COVID-19</a></p>\n\n<p>To answer questions about children and the pandemic, we looked at recent data, reviewed medical studies and spoke with pediatric professors, infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Medical experts we spoke with agree on one thing that&rsquo;s been consistent throughout this pandemic: There&rsquo;s still a lot we don&rsquo;t know.</p>\n\n<p>But what we do know so far is that children make up fewer confirmed cases, and tend to be less likely to develop complications. The rest, as they say, is still a bit of a mystery.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How likely are child cases of COVID-19?&nbsp;</div>\n\n<p>Children represent about 22% of the U.S. population, but only around 5% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6924e2.htm#F1_down\">recent data</a> from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (That&rsquo;s 1.7% of cases in the 0-9 age group and 3.8% of cases in the 10-19 age group). This holds true for <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/pediatric-hcp.html\">other countries</a>, too.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Dr. Megan Freeman, pediatric infectious disease fellow at UPMC Children&rsquo;s Hospital of Pittsburgh, told PolitiFact that there are a couple of hypotheses for why children comprise a smaller proportion of infections. One is that they may not be getting tested as often because their symptoms are usually mild or absent.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Another hypothesis is that children have less expression of the ACE2 protein that the virus uses as its receptor in their noses and lungs, making it more difficult for them to be infected,&quot; Freeman wrote in an email. &quot;Children handle this infection very well, for the most part, with most having mild or absent symptoms. This is true for both younger children and teens.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The risk of infection is about the same between boys and girls, experts tell us. And while there are more confirmed COVID-19 cases among teenagers, <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm\">hospitalization data</a> hasn&rsquo;t shown that their infections are more severe than those in younger children.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">How likely is it for children to develop serious symptoms or complications?</div>\n\n<p>The CDC cites a report published in March as the largest pediatric study of patients with COVID-19 from China. The <a href=\"https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/03/16/peds.2020-0702.full.pdf\">study</a>, which assessed 2,143 patients, found that while child cases tend to be less severe than adult cases, young children and infants are vulnerable to the virus. Over 90% of the children had symptoms that were moderate, mild or nonexistent.</p>\n\n<p>At a May 12 Senate hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci <a href=\"https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/dr-anthony-fauci-cdc-director-senate-testimony-transcript-may-12\">said</a> that he&rsquo;s &quot;very reserved in making broad predictions&quot; about the impacts of the disease within the U.S.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The more and more we learn, we&rsquo;re seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn&rsquo;t see from the studies in China or in Europe,&quot; Fauci said. &quot;I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.&quot;When it comes to reopening schools, Dr. Sonja Rasumussen, a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Florida, said we need to be particularly concerned about children with underlying conditions such as diabetes, congenital heart disease, seizures and obesity.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Those are the kids who are potentially more at risk,&quot; she told us.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">What about the inflammatory syndrome that has occurred in some children who had COVID-19?</div>\n\n<p>The condition is rare, but it does affect otherwise healthy kids.</p>\n\n<p>In May, doctors started to find that some children who previously had COVID-19 developed a rare condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>This condition causes different parts of the body to become inflamed including the skin, heart, lungs and eyes, due to an over-productive immune response. Symptoms can include rash, bloodshot eyes, vomiting and abdominal pain. The majority of children recover, experts say, but it can be deadly. And, as has been the case with COVID-19, information about the syndrome and why it develops in some children and not in others is scarce.</p>\n\n<p>Dr. Mark Schleiss, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said he&rsquo;s concerned about the toll the syndrome might take on communities of color, which are <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/investigations/coronavirus-race-data-map/\">disproportionately affected</a> by the virus.</p>\n\n<p>In a study of 186 pediatric patients with the inflammatory syndrome <a href=\"https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2021680\">in the New England Journal of Medicine</a>, 73% of the kids were previously healthy and many got pretty sick. The majority, 80%, needed intensive care, and 2% died.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We still think it&#39;s a rare complication of COVID-19,&quot; Rasmussen said. &quot;The hard thing is we don&#39;t have good information about how to predict who it might happen to.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2021756\">Another paper</a> examined 15,515 pediatric COVID-19 cases in New York State and found that 99 children exhibited symptoms of the syndrome.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Because patients were screened based on whether they were exhibiting symptoms, it&#39;s likely there were more COVID-19 infections than were detected. And that, Freeman said, would mean the rate of those who experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome would have been even smaller.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">What about transmission?</div>\n\n<p>Rasmussen acknowledged that the shutdown of schools in the spring was the best decision to keep kids safe, but it made it difficult for scientists to measure how they transmit the disease.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Kids talk and sing and yell,&quot; she said. &quot;They do things that spread viruses, and they have been shown to have a viral load when they test positive. So whether there&#39;s some reason they would spread less, I can&#39;t imagine what that would be.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Other medical experts told PolitiFact that the medical community doesn&rsquo;t know yet whether it is less or more likely for children to spread the disease to one another, or for them to spread it to adults.</p>\n\n<p>Schleiss said that children are &quot;likely to play a critical role in transmission,&quot; based on studies of other diseases, but what we know about their role in transmitting COVID-19 is limited since the virus is new.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;There is not currently good data on how well children spread coronavirus infection compared to adults,&quot; Freeman said, noting that in the case of influenza, children are known to be the main spreaders of the disease in the community. But this isn&rsquo;t necessarily true for COVID-19.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We do not think that children are the main spreaders of coronavirus in the community, but they are capable of spread,&quot; she said. &quot;There is not currently good data on how teens vs. younger children may differ biologically in their degree of spread, however, teens often have larger social groups than young children, are more mobile, and may not follow guidance about masking as well.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Why we don&rsquo;t know much yet</div>\n\n<p>Schools and daycares being closed makes it hard to study transmission among children. And it&rsquo;s easier to conduct studies with adults. So research on children will take more time.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The kinds of things you can do with adults to understand it better, a lot of researchers will be more reluctant to do that in kids,&quot; Rasmussen said. &quot;Sometimes we learn about kids later in an emergency response than we do in adults, especially in something like this where many kids are asymptomatic.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>While it may feel like surefire answers have been hard to come by, scientists say the amount of data that has come out in such a short span of time is substantial.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Especially when it&#39;s a new virus, people think you&#39;re changing your mind. But as we get more data, we change what we know,&quot; Rasmussen said. &quot;Scientists are learning as fast as they can and are collecting information as fast as they can while trying to protect people at the same time.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Science takes time, and good science takes even more time.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-10T14:22:34-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "fact-checking-video-claims-masks-aint-going-do-any",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Fact-checking a video that claims masks ‘ain’t going to do anything for you’",
            "entry": "<p>Early in the coronavirus outbreak, the lead federal agency fighting the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, generally recommended that only people with COVID-19 and showing symptoms should wear masks.</p>\n\n<p>But that&nbsp;<a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/01/facebook-posts/fight-COVID-CDC-now-says-wear-masks-in-public/\">changed</a> April 3, when the CDC said people should wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth when out in public &mdash; not to protect themselves, but to help <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html\">prevent</a> spread of the virus to others.</p>\n\n<p>Masks have since emerged as one of the top recommendations for fighting the spread. But a widely shared Facebook post and an accompanying video all but label mask wearing as useless.</p>\n\n<p>The <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=605387193288149\">post</a>, by a user who has <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/watch/pcstopshere/\">20,000</a> followers, states: &quot;Doctor explains why masks DON&#39;T work.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>It&rsquo;s not clear the man who narrates the nearly 11-minute video is a doctor, given that he is unidentified. He does make a reference to &quot;when we gown up&quot; to enter a patient&rsquo;s room, but seems to misuse the word &quot;infection&quot; throughout the video.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I&rsquo;m going to tell you why it ain&rsquo;t going to do anything for you when you wear a mask&quot; in public, the man says.</p>\n\n<p>The July 3 post was flagged as part of Facebook&rsquo;s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536?helpref=related\">partnership</a> with Facebook.)</p>\n\n<p>Here&rsquo;s a look at seven claims made in the video.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">1. An N95 mask has &quot;to actually be fitted directly to your face and there&rsquo;s a special test that&rsquo;s done to make sure that it actually fits you.&quot;</div>\n\n<p><strong>Largely correct</strong></p>\n\n<p>N95 respirators, which are used by healthcare workers, are <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jun/15/facebook-posts/claim-n95-masks-cant-stop-covid-19-particles-due-s/\">95%</a> efficient at stopping particles in what is known as their least efficient particle size range &mdash; around 0.3 microns. A micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter.</p>\n\n<p>The N95 &quot;must fit the user&rsquo;s face snugly, i.e., create a seal, to minimize the number of particles that bypass the filter through gaps between the user&rsquo;s skin and the respirator seal,&quot; the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <a href=\"https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/03/16/n95-preparedness/\">says</a>. Health care workers &quot;should be fit tested if possible.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Dr. Werner E. Bischoff, medical director of the Infection Prevention and Health System Epidemiology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and other experts told PolitiFact fit testing is needed for health care workers who use N95s.</p>\n\n<p>Other people don&rsquo;t need to be fit-tested, &quot;but the highest benefit of an N95 is achieved when it fits properly,&quot; said Cindy Prins, a clinical associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Florida.</p>\n\n<p>The other claims the man makes in the video refer generally to masks that ordinary people wear, which could include cloth masks or disposable surgical masks. The man in the video modeled with a disposable surgical mask.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">2. &quot;When you have any mask whatsoever &mdash; any type of stubble, like this, any facial hair whatsoever &mdash; has to be completely shaved off&quot; because the mask &quot;has to seal against your face.&quot;</div>\n\n<p><strong>Overly broad</strong></p>\n\n<p>The CDC offers detailed <a href=\"https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2017/11/02/noshave/\">advice</a> on facial hair and respirators. But again, those are intended for healthcare workers.</p>\n\n<p>But we rated as <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/feb/27/facebook-posts/no-cdc-isnt-recommending-men-shave-their-beard-pro/\">False</a> a claim that the CDC recommends men shave their beards to protect against coronavirus.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Adalja and Bischoff agreed that facial hair can interfere, depending on the type of mask, but Bischoff said the statement is misleading because most masks are not intended to protect the wearer.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Surgical masks provide a physical barrier that prevents droplets being expelled by the wearer, and also protects the wearer from droplets expelled by others around them, to a degree. They are not designed to filter out aerosols/airborne particles the way N95 masks are,&quot; Joshua Michaud, associate director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation and a former infectious-disease epidemiologist, told PolitiFact. &quot;So, facial hair doesn&rsquo;t need to be shaved off for surgical type masks, given that a tight seal is not expected.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">3. &quot;When you wear a mask and you walk into a store and that store has coronavirus,&quot; the mask &quot;is now infected. You can&rsquo;t go into your car and wear the mask in your car now, because now you&rsquo;ve infected your car.&quot;</div>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">&nbsp;</div>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\"><strong>Largely wrong</strong></div>\n\n<p>&quot;Whether a contaminated mask will release virus into its surroundings is debatable at best. I don&rsquo;t know good evidence for it,&quot; Stephen Morse, a Columbia University professor of epidemiology, told PolitiFact.</p>\n\n<p>Adalja said there likely is some contamination, &quot;however, it hasn&rsquo;t really been quantified and people can reuse their masks. We want to make sure, though, that people do wash&quot; cloth masks regularly.</p>\n\n<p>Prins said, &quot;If you don&rsquo;t touch the mask, then you can still wear it in your car, it&rsquo;s not shedding virus.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Cotton masks should be <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html\">washed</a> after each use and disposable masks should be discarded if they have been worn for long periods of time, have gotten wet, or are torn, she said. &quot;I rotate my surgical masks by storing them away for about three days after use. I then inspect them before wearing them again to make sure they&rsquo;re intact.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">4. &quot;As soon as you walk into a place and you have the mask on,&quot; the horizontal &quot;bar&quot; that runs across the top of the mask &quot;is now infected.&quot; So, if your eyeglasses fog up, &quot;that doesn&rsquo;t mean you can now take your glasses off and rub them and put them back on, because these glasses are now infected, they are touching the mask that&rsquo;s supposed to stop this from happening.&quot;&nbsp;</div>\n\n<p><strong>Overstates the risk</strong></p>\n\n<p>Here again, it should be noted that masks are not aimed primarily at protecting the wearer. And infection isn&rsquo;t the same as contamination.</p>\n\n<p>Morse recommends always washing hands or using hand sanitizer after taking off or touching a mask, noting that eyes can be a route of infection. Mask wearers should always try to use the ear loops rather than touching the mask itself, he said.</p>\n\n<p>While a mask might be contaminated in certain situations, &quot;it&rsquo;s not like the virus is actively being shed from the mask or &lsquo;jumping,&rsquo; so, you can clean your hands, remove your glasses to wipe them and then clean your hands again,&quot; said Prins.</p>\n\n<p>To reduce fogging, ensure a good seal on the mask over the bridge of the nose, set the frame of the eyeglasses over the mask to help secure the seal, she said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">5. With a mask, there are gaps near the eyes, so if you&rsquo;re not also wearing a face shield to protect your eyes, &quot;it&rsquo;s useless&quot; because coronavirus droplets can enter through the gaps.</div>\n\n<p><strong>Misleading &mdash; masks are not intended to protect the wearer</strong></p>\n\n<p>&quot;Masks are not being worn to protect the wearer from infection and one reason for that is they don&rsquo;t cover the eyes. This is why face shields may be better,&quot; Adalja said.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Leakage does occur around the edge of a surgical mask when a person inhales, <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508.pdf\">according</a> to the CDC. But CDC <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html\">does not</a> recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings, though &quot;some people may choose to use a face shield when sustained close contact with other people is expected.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Health care workers exposed to COVID-19 should wear eye protection with a face mask, but most people &quot;don&rsquo;t probably need it,&quot; said Prins. &quot;It&rsquo;s absolutely still beneficial to wear a mask, though.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">6. &quot;If you touch any part of the mask&quot; to, for example, adjust it, your hands or any gloves you have on your hands, &quot;are now infected.&quot;</div>\n\n<p><strong>Risk of contamination, not automatic infection</strong></p>\n\n<p>Touching the mask can contaminate it, Adalja said.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;&lsquo;Infected&rsquo; means that the virus has entered the cells of your body where it can replicate,&quot; said Prins. &quot;What would be accurate to say is that if you touch the outside of your mask, then your hands may be contaminated with virus. You just need to clean your hands before you touch anything else.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\"><strong>7. &quot;You should be putting a new mask on before you walk into a store, taking that mask off as soon as you walk out of the store and throwing it away,&quot; and then immediately clean your hands.</strong></div>\n\n<p><strong>Not necessary</strong></p>\n\n<p>Prins reiterated her previous comment: &quot;If you don&rsquo;t touch the mask, then you can still wear it in your car, it&rsquo;s not shedding virus,&quot; and repeated that cloth masks can be washed and reused.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I always clean my hands before I go into a store and again after I leave. This protects others in case I&rsquo;m infected and protects me in case my hands got contaminated during my shopping trip,&quot; she said.</p>\n\n<p>Said Bischoff: &quot;Good hand hygiene is paramount but the (man in the video) misses the premise of why cloth masks are so important.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-10T10:29:40-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "trump-vs-biden-updated-look-money-race",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Trump vs. Biden: An updated look at the money race",
            "entry": "<p>While Joe Biden has <a href=\"https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/\">improved his standing in the polls</a> in recent weeks, he&rsquo;s still behind President Donald Trump in the money race. Nevertheless, Biden continues to make up ground and has been eating into Trump&rsquo;s fundraising advantage.</p>\n\n<p>When we last looked at the two candidates&rsquo; fundraising picture <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/29/trump-vs-biden-where-money-race-stands-today/\">on May 29</a>, the combination of money raised by Trump&rsquo;s campaign, its aligned outside groups, and the Republican National Committee was about $670 million, compared with roughly $423 million for Biden&rsquo;s campaign, outside groups, and the Democratic National Committee. That amount for Trump was 59% larger than for Biden.</p>\n\n<p>Since then, Biden has shrunk the gap.</p>\n\n<p>The funds raised by those three entities now amount to $726 million for Trump, compared with $491 million for Biden. That&rsquo;s a 48% edge for Trump.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 2 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>We&rsquo;ve combined these three types of money collected on the advice of campaign finance experts, because doing so gives the broadest look at how well-funded each candidate is. The data comes from federal disclosure forms collected by the nonpartisan <a href=\"http://v/\">Center for Responsive Politics</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Trump&rsquo;s big advantage continues to be the early fundraising lead assembled by the Republican National Committee over the Democatic National Committee. If you look only at the candidates&rsquo; campaigns and their outside groups, the fundraising gap between the two candidates narrows considerably.</p>\n\n<p>Currently, Trump&rsquo;s campaign plus his outside groups have raised $353 million, compared with $316 million for Biden. That&rsquo;s an 11.7% edge for Trump, which is much closer than the 25.1% edge the president had in this metric in late May.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, 2020. (AP)</em></p>\n\n<p>Meanwhile, both candidates are exceeding the fundraising pace of the money leader from the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton. At this point in the 2016 campaign, Clinton, plus outside groups and the DNC, had raised $416 million and Trump was trailing Clinton with about $187 million.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 3 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Biden is also eating into Trump&rsquo;s advantage for cash on hand, which refers to money raised but not yet spent.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 4 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Trump currently has $214 million on hand, compared with $152 million for Biden. That&rsquo;s 41% more cash on hand for Trump than for Biden. But that&rsquo;s closer than Biden was in late May. Back then, Trump was ahead by almost 67%.</p>\n\n<p>The same pattern holds as with fundraising: Biden is catching up most quickly if you look only at the candidate&rsquo;s campaign and its aligned outside groups.</p>\n\n<p>In late May, Trump led Biden in cash on hand for these categories by about 56%. Now, his lead over Biden in these categories is only about 18%,</p>\n\n<p>It remains to be seen whether the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn will affect fundraising for either candidate through the rest of the summer and the fall.&nbsp;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-07-09T17:57:48-04:00"
        }
    ]
}