AWhen the corona epidemic hit the United States four months ago, the northwestern state of Washington was initially affected. This was followed by California, New York and New Jersey – all coastal states strongly shaped by the Democratic Party.
While the number of new infections registered is increasing dramatically, the new hotspots are mainly in the south. There are several strongholds of the Republicans.
As little as the virus cares about party preferences or nationalities, the reaction in American politics is significant. Vice President Mike Pence, for example, canceled a campaign event in Arizona planned for Tuesday. He also indirectly calls on the population to wear masks.
Both are in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, who wanted to hold two rallies ten thousand days ago in Oklahoma. Due to a lack of listeners, one speech was canceled, while the other speech in a hall was followed by only 6,200 followers.
Trump refuses to wear a mask and indirectly advises against it. The president has declared the mask to be a political no-go – even if his own health authority has been advising to wear the mask for months. The question of how to wear a mask has long become a political statement in the United States, some even see a cultural struggle here.
The leading health official in Orange County, California resigned after receiving death threats from a mask requirement he had imposed. The spokeswoman for the House of Representatives, the democrat Nancy Pelosi, demands a nationwide mask requirement. The CDC health agency only recommends wearing masks “because they don’t want to offend the president,” Pelosi said.
Increase in most states
The U.S. registered 38,753 new corona infections on Sunday, 76 percent more than 14 days earlier. Cases are increasing in 32 of the 50 states. The sharpest increases in cases calculated over the past 14 days include the state of Arizona.
3800 new cases were reported here on Sunday alone, more than his March. (For comparison: Germany with a good eleven times as many inhabitants as Arizona recorded 486 new cases on Monday.)
The southwestern US has reversed the easing of its corona requirements. Bars, fitness centers and cinemas have to close again.
Cases are also increasing in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi. In all of these states, Trump had won the 2016 presidential election. In democratically dominated California, the number of cases also increases again, albeit less steeply. In New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, among others – the hotspots in April and May – the number of new infections is stagnating, according to the “New York Times”.
The new cases are only declining in Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, South Dakota, Puerto Rico and Washington DC – where only four percent of the US population live.
Of the approximately ten million corona cases worldwide, the United States has more than 2.5 million infections than any other country. Over 126,000 US citizens have died from the virus, which is also a worldwide record. 43 percent of deaths occurred in nursing homes, the New York Times reports.
Death numbers are falling
However, the number of deaths has continued to decline, at least so far. Trump’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that Sunday had the lowest death toll since late March.
For President Trump, the rising infection rate and the ongoing recession scenario are a political threat. A good four months before the presidential election, Trump is struggling with lousy poll values. His favorite broadcaster Fox News estimates the president at only 38 percent, his challenger Joe Biden at 50 percent.
During a visit to Texas, Vice President Mike Pence last wore a mask and called for all measures to be taken to protect the most vulnerable. Trump’s health minister Alex Azar, who is rarely seen throughout the pandemic, also wore a mask. During her press briefing on Monday, however, both President spokeswoman McEnany and her staff did without masks.
Pence defended Trump’s thesis that the number of new infections increases because the tests are being expanded. The average number of cases is increasing in some states, while the average number of tests is falling, as the Washington Post writes. In other states, the number of new infections increased more than the number of tests.
Leading politicians in the states with increasing new infections are now reversing. Republican Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, Lenny Curry, issued a mask on Monday for the public and interiors where physical distance is impossible.
Party convention comes to Jacksonville
This decision is a fundamental course correction that Curry had resisted for weeks. Spicy: Only recently did the Republican Party move its nomination party convention for the presidential election from North Carolina to Jacksonville, which was planned for August, because there were no such restrictions at the time.
Trump would like to hold his coronation mass without a mask. On Monday, his party announced that it wanted to hold a “safe” convention and that it would abide by the local health regulations that were in effect at the time.
For Trump, it is “the personal decision of each individual whether he wants to wear a mask or not,” said spokeswoman McEnany on Monday. People should choose the best way for their safety.
Trump told her he had “no problem with masks,” said McEnany. If that were really the case, it would be a 180 degree turn. Trump had recently scoffed at his – always wearing a mask – challenger Joe Biden, who looked “as if he had put a backpack over his face”.
While the Republican governors of Florida, Georgia and Texas have relaxed the corona restrictions, in part, despite the infection in recent weeks – on Trump’s advice – in recent years, new restrictions are piling up.
Corona patients are getting younger
Texas had already announced the closing of bars last week. At Houston Methodist Hospital, about 60 percent of corona patients are under 50 years of age, significantly younger than when the epidemic began.
Local politicians in several densely populated districts called on Governor Greg Abbott on Monday to withdraw business reopening. They pointed to scarcer hospital capacities, reports the online portal “Texas Tribune”.
The gradual opening had already started in Texas at the end of April – against the guidelines of the federal government in Washington.
In Florida, which recorded 8,577 new cases on Sunday, beaches are scheduled to close on the weekend around Independence Day (July 4). In the sunshine state, the proportion of positive tests rose to twelve percent. Governor Ron DeSantis said the positive rate for the 25- to 34-year-olds is almost 20 percent. That is “something pretty new”.
DeSantis does not want to prevent the reopening of Disney World in Orlando, which is planned for July 11, despite the increasing number of cases and a petition from concerned employees, reports the magazine “People”. However, the reopening of the Disney parks in Anaheim, southern California, which was originally planned for July 17, will be postponed.
Several states affected by fewer new infections slowed the resumption of public life. This means that, unlike planned, restaurants in New Jersey will remain closed beyond this Thursday.
New York tourism continues to be extremely shutdown. These days, double rooms in four-star hotels in Manhattan are available from just over 100 euros. The 41 Broadway theaters in New York will remain closed until January 3, 2021 – at least.