Fact check: Biden makes false claims about Covid-19, auto prices and other subjects at CNN town hall

As at his town hall in February, Biden made a number of false or misleading claims. We haven’t been able to examine everything he said Wednesday night, but here is an overview of some of his remarks.

Urging Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, Biden said, “If you are vaccinated, you will not be hospitalized, you will not be in intensive care and you will not die. “In another exchange, Biden said that even if vaccinated people” catch the virus “they” are unlikely to get sick. “

Facts first: Biden’s second claim – that vaccinated people “are unlikely to get sick” – was correct. But the blanket promises in its first and third comments – that vaccinated people simply “won’t be hospitalized”, “won’t die” and “won’t get Covid” even with the highly contagious Delta variant – were inaccurate.

Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective and greatly reduce the chance of infections, serious illness and death. However, contrary to Biden’s categorical statements, they don’t guarantee that people won’t get the virus, or won’t be hospitalized, or die. Even vaccinated people from Biden’s own staff have become infected. So you have a senior adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, several Texas Democratic lawmakers, who was in Washington, DC this month; and various other high profile people.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not endorsing the definitive language Biden used. The CDC notes on its website that “vaccine breakthroughs will occur even though vaccines work as expected” and “a small percentage of fully vaccinated people will still get sick, hospitalized or die of Covid-19”.
Experts emphasize that it is unusual for fully vaccinated people to develop seriously Covid-19. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last Friday that more than 97% of Covid-19 patients currently hospitalized are unvaccinated; The general surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy said on CNN on Sunday that 99.5% of Covid-19 deaths are currently from unvaccinated people. But of course that means that there are sometimes hospital admissions and deaths among those fully vaccinated, as various US jurisdictions have reported in recent days.
The CDC says it had received reports of 1,063 deaths in vaccinated individuals with “breakthrough cases” as of July 12, but warned that 26% of those deaths were “reported as asymptomatic or unrelated to COVID-19”. The CDC said it had received reports of 5,189 hospitalizations in vaccinated individuals with “breakthrough cases”, although 28% were “reported as asymptomatic or unrelated to COVID-19”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tried to clarify Biden’s statement that “you won’t get Covid if you have these vaccinations”.

“Well, science says 97% of hospital admissions are people who haven’t been vaccinated,” Psaki said Thursday. “So yeah, there are cases of people vaccinated, to be very clear, who got Covid – it’s a very small percentage and a small number of people, and these cases, the big, big, big majority, are asymptomatic and they have, they have mild symptoms which means you are largely protected – that was the point he tried last night. “

Car prices

After being asked by a citizen if he was concerned about higher prices, particularly inflation in gasoline, automobile and grocery prices, Biden claimed that “the cost of a car is back to what it was before the pandemic, so to speak” .

Facts first: This is wrong, even with the leeway Biden gave himself with the phrase “somehow”. Due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, New car prices and used car prices are significantly higher today than before the pandemic, regardless of whether “before the pandemic” means mid-2019 or early 2020. Used car prices have risen particularly sharply.
For new and used cars in US cities, the consumer price index in June 2021 was around 20% higher than in January 2020 and around 19% higher than in June 2019. Used cars and trucks in cities have increased by around 43% since January 2020 and approx . 41% since June 2019.
Chris Isidore, senior writer for CNN Business, wrote Sunday that, according to Edmunds, a company that tracks car prices, “the average new car transaction in June was just below the record $ 41,000 set in May and versus June 2019 rose by 10%. The average used car price rose even faster, rising 28% over the two-year period to a record $ 26,500.
Kelley Blue Book, which also tracks car prices, reported this week that the average transaction price for a new light vehicle in the U.S. had hit an all-time high of $ 42,258 in June 2021, excluding the consumer incentives applied. According to Kelley Blue Book spokeswoman Brenna Buehler, this is around 12% more than in June 2019 and around 9% compared to January 2020.
Kayla Reynolds, Industry Intelligence Analyst at Cox Automotive who owns the Kelley Blue Book, said in an email: “The historically scarce inventory of new vehicles has helped drive transaction prices soar over the past year. Incentive spending by automakers has also fallen significantly, and new vehicle affordability hit a ten-year low in June. “Reynolds added that, given the global microchip shortage that continues to affect vehicle manufacturing, analysts at Cox Automotive” expect the new car inventory to be new returns to normal levels in the next year, and even then consumers cannot expect a significant price correction, “just a slowdown in price increases.”

Non-compete obligations

Biden criticized the widespread use of “non-compete clauses” by companies, which limit the ability of employees to move to other companies. He said, “For example, you have over 600,000 people out there who are signing – 6 million people are signing – I better check the number of – the – signing non-compete agreements. Not because they… have some kind of secret, but because you worked for a fast food restaurant and they were told that you couldn’t get 10 cents if you walk across town and into that other fast food restaurant walk. Why? To keep wages down. “
Facts first: Biden made it very clear that he wasn’t sure how many workers really were, but according to his own government’s earlier estimates, the numbers he used were still far off. Psaki told reporters on July 7th that non-compete obligations affect “over 30 million people” in the private sector. A white house document The figure published on July 9th puts the figure at “around 36 to 60 million workers”. quote an estimate by the think tank of the Economic Policy Institute.
In a July 9 executive order, Biden called on the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission to “consider working” with the rest of the commission to use their powers “to limit the improper use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements which are unfair could limit the mobility of workers. “

An infrastructure letter

Regarding the ongoing Senate negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Biden said he believes the negotiators only need until Monday to resolve outstanding issues. He said: “They had to sign a letter from up to 20 Republicans that said, ‘We think we need this deal. We think we need this deal.’ “
Facts first: When talking about the letter that was on the news the day he spoke, Biden exaggerated the level of Republican support. According to Republican Senator Rob Portman, 11 Republican Senators sent a letter to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer clarifying that they would vote no if Schumer held a procedural vote on Wednesday to move the bipartisan infrastructure proposal forward, but that they intend to vote yes, if there was a vote next Monday. (Biden said “up to 20”, not just “20”, but 11 is so far from 20 that the claim is at least misleading.)
Biden may have mistaken the letter to Schumer on Wednesday for a public statement in support of the infrastructure talks, approved by 22 senators. But that statement also included the names of 11 Republicans – 10 Senators and one member of the House of Representatives.

The vote on Wednesday failed. Schumer has the right to call another vote on Monday or in the future.

The child tax deduction

Announcing his expansion of the child tax credit, which was part of the $ 1.9 trillion aid package he signed in March, Biden claimed, “It’s called a child tax credit. If you have a child under the age of 7, you get $ 300 a month – $ 350 a month. If you have a child aged 7 to 17, you get a total of $ 200 a month. ”

Facts first: Biden was inaccurate in two ways – both in terms of the size of the tax credit for the two age groups and what the two age groups actually are.

The age groups used to determine how much money families will receive from the tax credit are: 1) ages 6-17 (not 7-17 as Biden said): 2) under 6 (not under 7 like Biden said).
Eligible parents get up to $ 250 per month for each child between the ages of 6 and 17, not $ 200, Biden said. Receive up to $ 300 per month for each child under the age of 6; Biden originally named this amount, but then incorrectly increased it to $ 350.

Biden’s first vaccination goal

Biden said, “Well, by the way, remember, when I was first elected the problem was, well, I said I was going to do a million shots a week and people were like, ‘Biden can’t do that’ or ‘The Biden team can’t do that.’ And there were 2 million. “

Facts first: Biden pronounced himself wrong here. Its original goal – what some observers actually did greet with skepticism – was 1 million Covid-19 shots a day, not 1 million shots “a week”. Specifically, Biden had set a target of 100 million shots in his first 100 days.
Biden then raised the target to 200 million shots in his first 100 days. This goal has been achieved.


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