Cases are increasing dramatically in more than 40 states, particularly in southern and western America, California, Florida and Texas – the three most populous states in the country – recording a record increase. Florida, among the states hardest hit by the June wave, reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, its biggest peak to date.
“What we have seen is a very disturbing week,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, speaking to the American Medical Association.
More than a dozen have been forced to suspend plans to reopen, while the number of available hospital beds and testing capacity is strained.
“The crisis is being treated,” insisted Donald Trump at the press conference to announce the latest employment figures, which showed that the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in June against an estimate. initial 13.3% in May.
“It opens much faster than anyone even thought possible, and with greater success,” said Trump, who has repeatedly downplayed the increase in the number of cases and now faces a steeper path to re-election in November.
“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is on the move. He comes back extremely strong, ”he added.
“I think we had a very careful plan,” said Mnuchin of the push for reopening, while stressing that the strategy was still “primarily the responsibility of the states.”
Some Republican-led states that reacted quickly to reopen this spring at Trump’s request, such as Texas, have now put pressure on this strategy. State Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered face covers to be worn in public across most of the state despite previous efforts by local governments to reduce mask requirements.
But others, like Florida, continue to refuse to change course. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis insisted that the state “would not come back” on the reopening of its economy, saying “the people who go into business are not what drives” the increases. Instead, he said, young people had not signed up for social distancing.
Democrat-led California, which was recently celebrated for containing the number of cases, has now been forced to re-close bars, restaurants and other businesses in 17 counties before the holiday weekend. 4th July.
Ohio, Kansas and Louisiana, all of which appeared to have controlled the spread of the virus just a month ago, said some of their highest daily totals for weeks. On Wednesday, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas set records for single day cases.
the Covid’s follow-up project said Wednesday the seven-day US average for new daily cases had doubled since June 13 and hospital admissions had jumped the highest number since April 21.
“We have been very badly affected, worse than any other country, in terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths,” Fauci told the BBC’s Today program on Thursday.
“The problem we face now is that in an attempt to reopen or open and return to some form of normalcy, we see very disturbing peaks in different individual states in the United States … and it’s not good news. We have to master this, otherwise we risk an even bigger epidemic in the United States. “
But Trump and his team have repeatedly contradicted the country’s public health experts, telling the public that it is prudent to continue reopening the economy while carefully adding the caveat that the ultimate responsibility for the reopening is the responsibility of each state.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Surgeon General, one of the primary health care officials in the federal government, reiterated their calls to Americans to follow social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus before the holiday weekend, especially by wearing face masks. .
“There is a reason why we keep coming back to these same public health messages – they are proven,” said statement from surgeon general Jerome Adams. “We all have a role to play in defeating this virus and going back to school, work, worship, play and general health.”
But White House public messages continue to contradict this advice. In an interview with Fox Business on Wednesday, Trump was asked to say if he truly believed, as he said earlier, that the virus would simply go away.
” I do. Yes, he said. ” Yes of course. At one point. And I think we will also have a vaccine very soon. “
Trump added, “We came back very strong … And I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think at some point it will sort of go away. I hope. ”
Trump has been the target of harsh criticism for minimizing the risks of the virus and for his refusal to promote simple safety measures such as wearing a mask. Asked about it on Wednesday, he said he “thinks masks are good” but said he didn’t think making masks mandatory was necessary.
Responding to employment figures on Thursday, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said: “Today’s job report may just be a slight spike in a valley much bigger, and unless President Trump shows real leadership in tackling the health crisis … America’s pain will only get worse. “