US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — President Trump conducts briefings at the White House every day on the actions of the federal authorities to combat coronavirus. What you need to know about the briefing on Tuesday.
1. Trump suspends funding for the World Health Organization.
Here is the main reason he substantiated his decision. WHO at the end of January opposed his instructions to ban people from China. This decision was the only proactive measure taken by Trump at an early stage in the fight against coronavirus. “They actually fought with us,” Trump said.
Yes, there is reason to be critical of the fact that in the beginning WHO simply repeated the statements of the Chinese government about the new coronavirus, say, stating that there was no evidence of transmission of the virus from person to person. But Trump at that time also provided China with a credit of confidence, appreciating its openness, although American intelligence agencies and presidential advisers warned that the virus is much more serious than the Chinese government shows.
Trump also accused WHO (often exaggerating) of having delayed the study of the virus in China and announced a public health emergency late. (Trump is also accused of being late in introducing a state of emergency in healthcare in the country.)
It is difficult to say with any certainty how effectively WHO informed the world about coronavirus and its control, because the pandemic is in full swing. Health analysts say that now is not the time to fight WHO on this issue, let alone cut funding. The United States makes the largest contributions to the WHO budget, and its leadership indirectly accuses Trump of politicizing the pandemic, saying that because of his actions “there will be much more bags of corpses.”
When Trump first talked about ending funding for the World Health Organization last week, he acknowledged that doing this during a pandemic is not very good. But on Tuesday he no longer had any doubts.
Trump often accuses the US of its ineffective response to the coronavirus of other people and organizations, never criticizing itself. In the same vein, his comments on WHO sounded on Tuesday: “Many countries said that they would listen to WHO and they had problems, moreover, such that they couldn’t even believe it.”
2. Trump deviates from statements about his “absolute” powers to resume the work of the economy.
On Monday, Trump claimed that only he can give instructions to resume the work of the economy, although governors who ordered people to stay at home shut down their states. The constitution does not give US presidents such authority.
New York Governor Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that he would challenge the court’s attempts by the federal authorities to resume economic activity prematurely. Then, politicians began to criticize, even from the Republican Party, and some constitutional experts. Then Trump began to act more prudently.
He announced: “Plans to reopen the country are being worked out.” Then Trump said that the White House will soon give details, but first he needs to talk with all the governors this week. This sounds pretty authoritarian, but you need to carefully read the text:
“In the near future I will talk with all 50 governors, and then I will authorize each individual governor of each individual state to open, so that they do it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.”
In other words, he now wants to play an advisory role to a greater extent, helping states decide when to resume economic activity, and “empowering” governors to make decisions on their own.
(When Trump spoke, the Washington Post reported that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, together with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is developing a strategy for opening some areas of the country.)
One reporter asked Trump if he was thinking about depriving some states of federal funding if their governors did not heed his advice. Trump did not say he did not think. And Trump did not repeat the statement made on Monday that he had the power to order the governors to return people to work.
Instead, he began instructively to say that governors should cooperate with him and work on his schedule. He mentioned how the government helps states with medical equipment, and then said: “Governors will have great respect for the presidency.”
He finished the briefing with the following words: “Governors work well. And if they do not work very well, we will severely punish them. We have no other choice.”
3. Federal authorities create a reserve of mechanical ventilation devices.
The plan is to distribute 4,000 ventilators to hospitals, as hospitalization figures in the regions are changing.
However, for the most affected states, such as New York, this will be a drop in the bucket. According to Cuomo, his staff needs from 30 to 40 thousand ventilation devices to overcome the crisis. The Trump administration has bought 10,000. This is for the whole country. An unnamed official from the administration told the newspaper correspondent that the number of ventilation apparatus purchased by the federal authorities was “a bit of a joke.”
In making his statement, Trump tried to downplay the state’s needs for ventilation devices. He still strongly expresses doubts that New York really needs so many devices. “40,000 fans per staff,” the president said on Tuesday. “Absurdity.”
4. Trump is very ambiguous about the willingness of the United States to track contactees.
Health experts say it’s extremely important to have enough people to track contacts to resume economic activity, that is, look for all those who have contacted an infected person and offer them quarantine. On Tuesday, one of Trump’s main coronavirus medical advisers, Anthony S. Fauci, told the Associated Press that we don’t have such opportunities yet.
When a reporter asked Trump about these words of Fauci, Trump interrupted him, saying: “I do not know what he said.”
When the reporter asked his question, Trump ignored the fact that, according to Fauci, the country will not be ready to cancel self-isolation by May 1, and mainly because of the lack of opportunities to track contacts. He simply stated: “We have many forms of testing, and now new tests are being developed.” But the reporter did not ask him about that. (Testing and tracking contacts are two different things.)
It seems that Trump wants to disagree with one of the most respected coronavirus specialists. He had previously intervened, preventing Fauci from answering questions about the treatment of the disease.
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