In the US, the corona epidemic has officially been a state of emergency since Friday. President Trump announced this during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, accompanied by the directors of several large retail chains, including Walmart and Target. They told the government to use their parking lots – there will be counters where Americans who fear they are infected with the new corona virus can have their car tested.
Officially, there were more than 2,100 corona infections in the U.S. on Friday evening, including 48 deaths. However, epidemiologists are convinced that many more Americans are carrying the virus, because testing is scarce.
In recent days, both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who coordinates the fight against the virus, denied that there was a lack of test kits. But at the press conference Friday, it was announced that the pharmaceutical company Roche may market its tests on the US. In contrast to the test now used, made by the government organization CDC, it gives a result within a few hours. Two other companies will receive more than a million dollars to develop tests that provide clarity after just an hour.
$ 50 billion for combat
It was Friday the second time in a short time that Trump addressed the country about the epidemic. His TV speech Wednesday did not have the desired comforting effect, partly because the president made a number of mistakes. For example, he reported that the entry ban from Schengen countries also concerned goods. And that anyone who fell ill with the corona virus for medical treatment would not have to pay a deductible. The following day, the stock markets, where prices had been falling for days, completely collapsed.
Those rates recovered somewhat on Friday after the President spoke. By declaring a state of emergency, he can spend $ 50 billion on fighting the virus. And Trump reached an agreement with the Democrats, who are majority in the House of Representatives, on an economic aid package later Friday evening. This arranges, among other things, paid sick leave and care leave for people with a low income.
At his press conference, Trump seemed downcast and defensive. “I don’t take responsibility for that,” he said of the limited availability of tests – a miss that his own employees now admit.
According to the US president, it was really the fault of previous governments, he said Friday. They would have bound the use of the tests to rules that were not suitable for a major epidemic that is rapidly spreading like the current one. According to Trump, the Obama administration had also seriously failed to respond to the 2009 swine flu epidemic, but media fact checkers quickly overturned those claims. The Trump administration could decide what it wanted on the tests. And test kits for the swine flu virus were distributed within two weeks of its discovery, The New York Times figured out – a day before the first patient died.
When asked by a reporter about the abolition in 2018 of the White House agency dealing with possible pandemics, he was completely out of the question. He thought that “a nasty question,” and abolishing that “I did not do.”
Trump was equally hesitant about reports that he may have been infected with the coronavirus himself, because he dined in his country house Mar-a-Lago with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, along with two people who have turned out to be infected, his press chief and the Brazilian ambassador to the US. While the CDC’s guideline is that someone who has come in contact with an infected person should get tested, Trump has not done so far. “I have no symptoms.” But after asking a reporter if it wasn’t selfish because he might be able to kindle others, he replied, “I didn’t say I wouldn’t have a test. I will probably do it. Not because of this, but just because I’m going to do it. ”
Infected or not, Trump should no longer shake hands either, according to the CDC’s general opinion. But he clearly had not yet mastered that rule. One after another director who spoke a few words got a firm handshake from him.