Friday, April 3, 2020

Trump wants to divide the United States into risk zones

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White House press conference

US President Trump wants to return to normal as soon as possible.


(Photo: Reuters)

Washington “To America’s Governors” – this is the title of the two-page letter in which Donald Trump outlined his exit scenario from the US-wide restrictions due to the corona crisis on Thursday. Accordingly, he wants to use the increasing availability of tests to quickly divide the country into three risk zones.

Depending on the prevalence of the virus, the approximately 3000 counties in the USA are to be classified as “high risk”, “medium risk” or “low risk”. Based on this classification, measures to contain the pandemic at county level should then be tightened, maintained or relaxed. The White House is working on guidelines for this, Trump said in the letter to the governors, which, however, would have to be implemented by the individual states and local authorities.

Trump has not given a start date for this new strategy. In Washington, however, he made it clear that he wanted to ease the current restrictions as quickly as possible: “Our people want to get back to work. Our country has to get back to work ”. At the same time, Trump said that the death rate among corona sufferers was “significantly lower than I initially suspected”.

The President’s exit strategy comes on the day the United States overtook China for the first time in the Corona cases. As of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University numbers, the virus had been detected in 83,000 US patients, and there are no more corona cases in any country in the world. As of Thursday, around 1,100 people died in the US from the pandemic.

However, the corona frequency in the USA is extremely unevenly distributed. The epicenter is New York, where the situation in the hospitals is already dramatic and will worsen rapidly in the coming weeks.

“All corona hotspots in the US are in or around metropolitan areas,” said White House Corona Task Force coordinator Deborah Birx. The number of cases has so far been very low, especially in the rural regions of the Midwest – but they are also increasing rapidly here.

Monday ends a 15-day period with U.S.-wide restrictions on public life that the Corona Task Force had recommended. According to Vice President Mike Pence, Trump wants to decide at the weekend what to do after the 15 days have passed.

Trump’s influence is limited, however. The final decision on most disease control measures in the United States rests with state governors or local authorities. In 22 of the 50 US states, exit restrictions are currently in place, some of which go far beyond the Washington recommendations.

More: New York in a state of emergency: report from a closed city

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