(New York) The coronavirus epidemic in New York State, the American epicenter, is on a downward curve, a first since the start of the epidemic which risks fueling the controversy between Donald Trump and state governors on the maintenance of containment measures.
“We have passed the high point, and all indications at this point are that we are in a downward phase,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday during his daily press briefing on the epidemic.
But as pressure to revive activity mounts across the United States – with more than 740,000 confirmed cases and 40,000 dead in the country worst affected by the epidemic in the world – he called for caution to “not not compromise ”the progress made.
“The continuation of this descent will depend on what we do,” said Cuomo, who recently extended containment measures in his state until May 15.
Other states have started loosening distancing rules. Some Florida beaches were cleared to reopen Sunday, and immediately stormed. The governors of Texas and Vermont also plan to relaunch certain activities, cautiously, as of Monday.
The pressure is on, while unemployment is exploding. The demonstrations have multiplied for eight days in the American states to denounce a confinement considered excessive.
Most rallies were limited to a few hundred people – one on Sunday in Chicago even flopped, with just three protesters’ cars. But a protest Wednesday in Lansing, Mich., Brought together some 3,000 people.
The American president has in his own way encouraged these demonstrations: Friday, he called for the “liberation” of certain states led by Democratic governors. Saturday, after a dozen anti-containment protests in various states, he felt that “some governors had gone too far.”
Comments denounced by some governors, including Republicans.
Larry Hogan, Republican governor of Maryland, the scene of a demonstration Saturday, estimated that “to encourage people to demonstrate against a plan on which you have just made recommendations, it does not make sense”.
Dispute over tests
Another point of friction between governors and Donald Trump: the massive tests necessary to be able to revive the economy without risking a new outbreak of the epidemic.
The federal government assures that the states now have sufficient testing capacity at their disposal, which several governors deny.
“Just as I was right about the respirators (our Country is now the ‘King of the respirators’, the other countries are calling on us for help and we will help them), I am right about the tests: the governors must increase their efforts and get the job done. We will be with them UNTIL THE END, ”Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday.
“There is sufficient testing capacity in the country today for any state to enter phase 1” of reopening the economy, also said vice president Mike Pence on Fox News.
As part of the recommendations issued by the White House to States to decide on the gradual lifting of containment, this first phase provides for the partial reopening of certain businesses.
But the Democratic Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, much criticized by Donald Trump in recent days for having adopted restrictions on weapons, called these claims “delusional” and “irresponsible”.
“We have been asked, as governors, to wage this war without the equipment we need,” he said on CNN.
Gretchen Whitmer, Democratic governor of Michigan, where some 3,000 people demonstrated on Wednesday, also pointed to a shortage.
Just like Mr. Cuomo, who alternates between criticism and compliments from Donald Trump, but who has sought to calm things down.
He called the collaboration between the federal government and the states to bring down the curve of “phenomenal achievement”, noting that Washington had been “a formidable partner” when it was necessary to increase the capacity of New York hospitals in March.
But he stressed that testing was the new challenge. “We can do better by working together than separately,” he said. “We have to work together and do the best we can. I am confident that we will get there because we have done it in the past ”.