“The virus will have no chance against us.” With these words, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, addressed the nation by announcing the suspension of flights from Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom, for 30 days, and a tax aid plan for small businesses to limit the damage due to coronavirus expansion. The 10-minute speech – held as usual, for these occasions, in the Oval Office of the White House – arrives a few hours after the WHO statement that talks about the spread of Covid-19 as a pandemic. And Trump, after weeks of denying, criticizing and underestimating data and information, seems to have finally taken note of it. According to the latest official data, there are 1135 virus positive people in the country and 38 dead. And most likely they are destined to grow, as has happened and is happening in many other countries, starting from Italy.
“We are all united in this situation,” said the president. “We need to put politics aside and unify us as one nation and one family.” Trump also called for an effort to Americans to understand the extent of fairly severe – “tough but necessary” measures, as he himself called them – to contain the virus. Along with the decision to temporarily stop flights from Europe and the aid plan for small businesses, the request also came to Congress to cut taxes on wages. Specifically, Trump has promised: aid for sick workers, quarantined or who take care of others because of the coronavirus, asking for 50 billion dollars; to expand the base of small business low interest loans in the affected areas and a tax relief plan of up to $ 200 billion. The stated goal is to work closely with Congress for more complete and effective measures.
Words and resolutions that demonstrate how much the president initially minimized the scope of the “foreign virus”, as he defined it in his speech. But Trump narrowed his blame, first defining the emergency as “a temporary situation” and then accusing the European Union of not having taken enough “precautions at the beginning” to limit travel from China. Circumstance that would have contributed, according to Trump, substantially to the spread of Covid-19 in the United States, even if at the moment there is no evidence that the virus in the country came from a European citizen.
Trump’s speech therefore marks the beginning of a set of containment policies for the spread of the virus. As the New York Times reports, college classes have been suspended and students have been invited to leave and return home, with no small chaos. All the games of the NBA season have been suspended and the university basketball championship (NCAA), very popular in the USA, has been blocked. Museums, cinemas, theaters, stadiums and shops have been closed. Foreigners who have been in the 26 countries that make up the European Schengen area were also barred from entering the country in the previous 14 days. However, American citizens, permanent legal residents and their families are exempted, although they may be channeled into some airports for better screening. The US Department of Health also advised “to reconsider all trips abroad as potentially dangerous”.