Coronavirus infection rates in the US have risen to a record level, putting hospitals under heavy pressure and making the electoral battlegrounds of Florida, Texas, and Arizona the latest hot spots.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 2.5 million people tested positive for coronavirus in the U.S., and more than 125,000 died of Covid-19, the respiratory disease it causes. These are the largest totals in the world and increase fears of worse things to come.
The “window is closing” for the United States to control the pandemic, Alex Azar, the health secretary, warned Sunday when 36 states reported increases in new cases compared to the previous week. Only two states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, reported a decrease.
Foiling official promises that the pandemic would be overcome, last week the daily number of confirmed infections rose to a record high of 40,000 across the country. Florida had a record 9,585 infections on Saturday, followed by 8,530 on Sunday. Texas reported between 5,400 and almost 6,000 new cases per day between June 23 and 28.
Donald Trump is accused of a historic failure of the leadership not once but twice: first for minimizing the virus and leaving the experts behind when it exploded five months ago, and now for all, but ignoring its resurgence in the southern and western states , including several seen as crucial to His chances for reelection in November.
The president has focused directly on the economic recovery, but some states have been forced to curtail reopening efforts. California ordered the closure of some bars, the first major investment in efforts to reopen the economy in the most populous state. Texas and Florida have done the same.
Meanwhile, a former Florida data department health scientist said authorities asked him to change the numbers manually to make it appear that the spread of the virus was not bad enough to delay the reopening.
“It was very clear at the time that the science behind the science-driven plan did not matter, because the plan was already done,” Rebekah Jones told National Public Radio (NPR).
The increase has been worse in states that did not follow official recommendations to wait for a steady decline in infections for two weeks before reopening their economies.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN: “That is a recipe for disaster. We are now looking at the consequences of the spread of the community, which is even more difficult to contain than the spread in a physical place known as a prison, a nursing home, or a meat packing place. ”
In places where cases are on the rise, officials are also considering “completely covering these communities with evidence,” Fauci said.
Vice President Mike Pence urged Americans to wear masks on Sunday and donned one during a trip to Texas, although Trump refuses to do so.
“Wear a mask, where indicated or where you cannot practice the type of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Pence said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, facing criticism for reopening too soon, admitted: “Covid-19 has taken a very fast and dangerous turn in Texas in recent weeks.”
Abbott has also banned elective surgeries in the state’s largest counties.
The pandemic has transformed the political landscape into an electoral year. In early 2020, Trump apparently believed he was sailing for reelection in the wake of a robust economy. He is now the most vulnerable headline since George HW Bush lost in 1992, under attack for lack of national strategy, inadequate location of contacts, and effective abandonment of state governors to fight the virus alone.
Trump has also challenged public health guidelines by organizing campaign rallies with few face masks and little physical detachment. Just before a recent event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his campaign led to the elimination of thousands of “Don’t Sit Here Please!” Seat stickers intended to establish the physical distance between fans.
His opponent Joe Biden said in a speech in Pennsylvania last week: “He is like a child who simply cannot believe that this has happened to him. Everything is whining and self-pity. This pandemic did not happen to him. It happened to all of us. “
Trump finally appears to be paying a political price. Multiple polls show that Trump, also under pressure for his response to Black Lives Matter protests, now follows Biden by double digits nationally and loses in six battlefield states that were key to his 2016 victory.
The Washington Post reported that “some Trump advisers and allies are pressing privately for radical changes to the campaign, including the idea of a major shake-up of the staff and trying to convince the President to be more disciplined in his message and behavior.” .
An unidentified Trump ally told the Post: “If the election was today, we are in big trouble. Fortunately, it is not.
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who backed Trump in 2016, told ABC News: “He is losing. And if he doesn’t change course, both in terms of the substance of what he’s discussing and the way he’s approaching the American people, then he will lose. ”
Biden has been campaigning primarily from his home in Delaware, due to virus blocking restrictions. It has been more than two months without holding a press conference and he is not expected to host a traditional rally in the near future.
Christie added: “There is no doubt that while these national surveys are less significant in terms of gross numbers, the trend is obvious. The trend is moving towards Joe Biden, when Joe Biden hasn’t said a word.
Joe Biden hides in the basement and says nothing. No … don’t discredit the vice president, if he’s winning without doing anything, why do something?