More than 12,000 cases of coronavirus, 100 deaths counted Monday morning… The anxiety is mounting among the inhabitants of New York. And city officials on Monday called for Donald Trump to declare national coercive confinement. The American president believes that this could be “a worse remedy than the problem itself”. Worried about the economy, on the contrary, he is ensuring a return to business very soon. ”
With nearly a third of American cases, the economic capital of the country with 8.6 million inhabitants is the epicenter of the epidemic. A total of 560 people died in the United States.
Usually a symbol of hyper-activity and decibels, New York streets are exceptionally quiet since the entry into force on Sunday of new rules limiting activity to businesses deemed essential – supermarkets, pharmacies, internet providers – and forcing people to stay at home as much as possible, even if offenders are not currently exposed to any penalty.
“These containment measures taken by New York and California must be everywhere” in the United States, insisted the mayor Bill de Blasio. “We have to take these extreme measures,” he insisted.
Almost a third of Americans live in some form of confinement. Washington, Michigan and New Mexico were the latest to order people to stay on Monday, and the governor of California has tightened restrictions.
“Unfortunately, we can see that New York is getting closer to Italy,” said Jerome Adams, federal administrator of public health, deploring the fact that people are not seriously applying the federal non-coercive containment recommendations announced last week. , for 15 days.
Bill de Blasio and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo have reiterated their calls to the federal government to order private companies to make respirators and masks, which are sorely lacking in the United States, as in many others. country.
“Yes, it is an assertion of government power over private companies, so what?” It’s a national emergency, ”said Andrew Cuomo. “We can no longer continue to be supplied piecemeal,” he insisted.
Trump caught in the crossfire
So far, Republican Donald Trump has resisted imposing such measures, worried about their impact on the economy, even though about one in three Americans is already expected to live in confinement.
“We cannot let the remedy be worse than the problem itself,” he tweeted on Monday, as the US Senate again failed to agree on a far-reaching stimulus package. economy.
Later, he even declared that the United States would “very soon” reopen to the business world, “much earlier than three or four months as someone suggested. Much earlier ”.
At first, the president had minimized the epidemic ensuring that everything would be fine. He then gradually changed his tone, but is caught in the crossfire. He knows that his re-election will play on his ability to get the country out of the doldrums. The health care system in the United States is very poorly prepared for a pandemic. Unemployment benefit claims are starting to explode. Donald Trump, who made his economic success his main campaign argument, saw all the gains accumulated on the stock market since coming to power in early 2017, collapse in a few days.
For the city of New York alone, the mayor called for the emergency dispatch of “hundreds of respirators and hundreds of thousands and then millions of masks”. “If they don’t start arriving this week, we will get to the point where people cannot be saved when they could have been,” he said.
New York is also waiting for help from the National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install additional hospital beds. The conference center at the Javits Center in Manhattan must in particular be transformed into a hospital with a capacity of 1,000 beds, pending the conversion of certain hotels, which are now deprived of tourists. Andrew Cuomo, who went there on Monday, said he hoped it would be ready “within a week to 10 days.”
Buses and yellow taxis run for caregivers
The governor also signed a decree requiring New York hospitals to increase their capacity by 50% – to reach 75,000 beds – while calling on them to aim for 100%.
A hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, with a capacity of 1,000 beds, is also scheduled to leave for New York in two weeks, according to Defense Minister Mark Esper.
New Yorkers, accustomed to traffic jams and crowds, adapted as best they could to this new reality made up of almost deserted streets, stopped construction sites, closed schools or drawn iron curtains.
Buses and yellow taxis continued to circulate, notably to allow health professionals and emergency services to work, but often ran empty.