Thursday, April 2, 2020

Federalist Trump opts for 'flexibility' over coordinated action, will likely get more coronavirus cases

Here is the April 2nd front-page headline of the Daily Star: Trump not ordering national shutdown, instead wants to give states ‘flexibility’.

President Donald Trump is resisting calls to issue a national stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus despite his administration’s projections that tens of thousands of Americans are likely to be killed by the disease. One by one, though, states are increasingly pushing shutdown orders of their own.

Trump said Wednesday he wants to give governors’ “flexibility” on whether a stay-at-home policy is the best option for their constituents but acknowledged that he’s looking at limiting air and rail travel between hot spots within the United States. The Republican president remains hesitant to press a unified policy even after the White House released “sobering” new projections on Tuesday that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will likely succumb to the coronavirus even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

The lack of a unified, 50-state response also collides with evidence emerging that coronavirus infections are being spread by people who have no clear symptoms, complicating efforts to gain control of the pandemic. A study conducted by researchers in Singapore and published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday is the latest to estimate that around 10% of new coronavirus infections may be spread by people who were infected with the virus but not experiencing symptoms.

… Trump, [an] official said, is a believer in federalism and that it is up to governors to set restrictions for their states. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions.

Still, Trump — who has conducted long, near-daily briefings on his administration’s response to the virus outbreak over the last three weeks — has been reluctant to use his bully pulpit to urge governors to issue orders that would help effectively create a national quarantine.

So. Someone tell me. What is the price in human lives of federalist flexibility? Even rank-and-file Republicans get it.

According to a poll published Wednesday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 78% of U.S. adults, including 84% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans, favor requiring Americans to stay in their homes except for essential errands. …

Trump keeps coming up short in his reacting to, or really failure to act on, the pandemic. His behaviors are extensions of the Trump administration’s many missteps: They aren’t taking this seriously enough.

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