What makes Americans so stubborn in general?
Donald Trump: Dangerous stubbornness
Donald Trump believes in his personal Easter miracle. Just as Jesus Christ once rose from the dead on the third day after his death, the US economy should also come back quickly despite the corona pandemic. "I would be happy if the country is open again at Easter," said the US president in a TV interview on his house broadcaster Fox News, in which viewers could also ask questions. Whereby open obviously means that companies should start operations again and people should go about their jobs. "We can wash our hands five times a day and do without shaking hands, but we have to get back to work," said Trump in the rose garden of the White House.
The 73-year-old was not for the first time lacking foresight and community spirit during his tenure, but this decision - if he is actually able to enforce it - would be devastating. If the economy were to pick up again in just over two weeks, this would pose considerable dangers. People went back to work and would infect each other with the corona virus in large numbers.
However, the USA already has the third most cases of infection worldwide. Especially in New York the numbers are exploding and in the rest of the country, too, according to calculations by Columbia University, the corona cases will skyrocket to up to 500,000 in May. In many states, the growth curve may not peak until June - but Easter Sunday is April 12.
For fear of the coming election
The current standstill in public life in many parts of the country would have to be maintained for weeks in order to stretch the course of the pandemic over as long as possible so that the country's hospitals can actually care for and treat all patients. The already dysfunctional US health care system threatens to collapse under the number of cases if the measures to keep distance and the closure of businesses in many states are not followed through. There is a high probability that more people will die if Donald Trump gets serious about his plan.
But the president and his allies in the Republican Party apparently don't care. They have been testing public reactions to such a far-reaching step since Monday. Dan Patrick, deputy governor of Texas, said - on Fox News, of course - that he would accept his own death from Corona in order to preserve "the America that all America loves." Trump himself tweeted: "We cannot allow the cure to be more harmful than the problem itself."
On Tuesday, the US president apparently felt safe enough to officially announce the move. His motive is simple. Trump wants a second term and sees a flourishing economy as his best argument for re-election. He doesn't seem to care about the victims of this attachment. During his TV appearance in front of an audience of millions, he even tried to downplay the death rate from the corona pandemic. He reckons with less than one percent, "substantially less" than he was previously told. And you don't shut down the economy because of traffic and normal flu deaths.
Hard-won acceptance for limitations is lost
The signal from these words is fatal. All over the country, authorities and state governments are fighting for acceptance of the restrictions on public life. If the US president now approves the reopening of factories and downplays the risk of death, this could undermine the local population's painstakingly developed sensitivity to the threat of the pandemic. Unnecessary infections would be the result.
Sadly, Trump could hit the nerve of some voters with his downplaying Corona. The Federal Reserve in St. Louis expects an unemployment rate of up to 30 percent because of the current economic standstill. In the US, there is no long-term protection for the unemployed at the federal level. The Corona aid package for employees and the self-employed passed by Congress is incomplete, another trillion package is stuck in the Senate. Anyone who loses their job may be more threatened by a standstill in public life than by Corona. Trump is cynical about these fears.
But even outside of the United States, Trump's move is likely to have serious consequences. Corona skeptics in other countries - such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro - should feel confirmed by the President's actions. Governments could also see themselves forced to ramp up their own economies prematurely. Now all that remains is the hope that Trump will reconsider his decision. It would not be the first time that he has revised an announcement after political opposition. He would do the country, its citizens and perhaps the whole world a great favor.
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