Wherever the US President appears these days, he tries to preach good news. It is the same now, at the beginning of the week.
Soon, very soon this crisis will be over, says Donald Trump in the White House. Then America would be “opened” again – and the economy would flourish. For him, that’s not a question of months, but rather of weeks, Trump said. “Our country is not made to remain closed.”
Typical Trump: The president spreads optimism. He would like to declare the crisis over immediately. But the reality is different – this is the wrong time for any form of all-clear.
The USA has a firm grip on the new type of corona virus, and the situation is deteriorating day by day. The rate of infected people is increasing rapidly. More than 42,000 Americans are now officially infected and 540 people have died. In the metropolis of New York alone, 13,000 people are ill. The hospitals there are reaching their capacity limits.
Disaster reports are also coming from other parts of the country: In Florida, where local governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican and Trump friend, has long refused to close beaches and bars, the number of people infected is exploding. The same is reported from Louisiana, where hospitals in the New Orleans metropolis could soon be overwhelmed.
“This week is going to be really bad,” warns Jerome Adams, the US government’s chief medical officer, urging his countrymen to stay at home and minimize contact with other people.
The wave of layoffs is rolling
Trump also expressly does not contradict the expert’s warnings. At the same time, however, he tries to spread something like hope. The reason is obvious. He must fear that the massive economic impact of the corona crisis could spoil his chances of being re-elected. In the White House, panic is apparently spreading.
The wave of layoffs has already started. Restaurants, hotels and bars send employees home, chain stores are threatened with bankruptcy. Horror scenarios are already circulating among experts in the USA, according to which the unemployment rate in the country could soon reach 30 percent. That would even exceed the peak during the Great Depression of the 1930s when the rate was a good 24 percent.
Trump would then go down in history as the president with the worst economic record ever. The same fate could flourish for him as Herbert Hoover once did. He was president of the White House during the Great Depression and was soon chased out of office by voters.
No wonder Trump wants to do everything possible to minimize the economic impact of the crisis. Obviously, the President does not believe in a phase that is too long, in which large parts of the country are quarantined.
“If it were up to the doctors, they would like to shut the whole world up,” Trump says. But this could create much bigger problems than the problems caused by the virus. America’s economy will soon have to get going again, the president said. In a few days, he therefore wanted to check whether his government’s recommendations to the population to avoid social contacts such as visiting restaurants for 15 days should be maintained in this form.
An early easing is conceivable, Trump makes clear. A few less affected states could soon rethink their restrictions. “That’ll pass. We’ll win the battle.”
What is the industry doing?
It fits in with the fact that the president has so far resisted all demands that the large US corporations be given serious responsibility in coping with the crisis. According to the so-called Defense Production Act, the president of the industry could actually order in the crisis to manufacture certain products that are now urgently needed: ventilators, for example, or new protective masks. But Trump has so far rejected this approach because the large business associations and corporations are naturally not keen on such interventions. “We don’t nationalize in this country,” Trump says defiantly.
The President would rather rely on the economy to voluntarily help the country out of trouble. So far, however, this path has not been particularly successful, even if Trump pretends to be.
He claimed that large companies such as Ford, Tesla or General Motors were now “quickly” converting parts of their production to the production of urgently needed ventilators. Yes, the work had even started, Trump said. A statement that is obviously not correct: after research from US media automakers are likely to be months away from being able to produce these devices.
Doctor Fauci has to correct Trump
Trump also makes a lot of statements in his appearances on the crisis that are exaggerated or misleading. The goal is obviously always the same: Trump wants to spread a good mood – and so calm the nervous stockbrokers on Wall Street, who have been pushing the Dow Jones Index deep into the red for weeks.
Again and again it comes to the bizarre situation that Trump’s own advisers, claims of the President have to correct them later. One man that many Americans now trust most is the director of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Doctor Anthony Fauci.
When Trump recently claimed again that malaria drugs like chloroquine could help against the coronavirus and may be the biggest game changer in medical history, Fauci got him down to earth. So far, there is no reliable evidence for the effectiveness of the drugs, Fauci told the press soberly – Trump was still standing next to him.
Fauci himself gave in an interview to always try to present the correct facts. If necessary, he also “opposes”. Surprising: So far, Trump, who famously appreciates the contradiction, has granted the doctor.
The only question is how long.