Call for Trump to impose stay-at-home order

Updated April 04, 2020

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US suffers its first 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in a day. — Reuters/File
US suffers its first 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in a day. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: A leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Friday openly questioned the Trump administration’s reluctance to impose a nationwide stay-at-home order as America suffered its first 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a day.

By Friday afternoon, various US monitoring agencies had recorded about 260,000 cases in the country. Almost 7,000 people have died nationwide. By Friday afternoon, 600 deaths were added to the 1,000 recorded on Thursday.

In an interview to CBS News, Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan warned that the US capital and its suburbs could become America’s next hotspot for coronavirus in a couple of weeks.

Comparing the pandemic to a hurricane, Gov. Hogan said: “Hitting all 50 states, and it keeps coming every day, and it keeps intensifying and getting worse.”

US suffers its first 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in a day

In New York, where more than 2,500 people have died from the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has about six days left before it runs out of ventilators. “It’s very simple: A person comes into the ICU unit. They need the ventilator, or they die. It’s that basic proposition,” the governor said at a news briefing in New York.

Alarmed by these statistics, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top expert of infectious diseases in the White House, asked why the US federal government was not imposing stay-at-home orders. “If you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that. We really should be,” he told CNN.

President Donald Trump has left the implementation of such orders up to state and local governments, although he promoted a set of social-distancing guidelines with no enforceable mandate.

Several states have yet to impose stay-at-home orders despite dire warnings that between 100,000 and 240,000 could die from Covid-19 even if social-distancing recommendations are strictly followed.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx urged Americans to strictly follow the social distancing guidelines. “Just to everybody out there across the country — when we say no gatherings of 10, we want to be clear — no dinner parties, no cocktail parties,” she said. Restaurants and bars have already been barred from serving food and drinks at their premises.

Also, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the week ending March 28, pushing the total for this month to 10m.

The nonfarm payrolls contracted by 701,000 in March as the coronavirus forced a widespread US economic shutdown. This was far deeper than the 100,000 job losses forecast by economists. Friday’s report includes data through March 14 only.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020