In a speech to the nation Wednesday night, President Donald Trump partially accused Europe of spreading the new coronavirus pandemic in the United States, announcing that the White House had decided to suspend foreign travel. in the Schengen Area of Europe in the US for 30 days, effective 13 March. The United Kingdom not included in the prohibition.
Trump finally seemed to recognize how dangerous the situation in the US is, with more than 1.300 documented cases of the disease and 38 deaths. But he also harshly criticized Europe, which claimed to have "sent" a "large number of new teams" to the United States, not shutting down flights from China in response to the "foreign" virus. (As for where her xenophobic tone comes from speechStephen Miller, a White House aide who is ideologically linked to the white nationalist movement, is reportedly responsible.) White House was criticized for his timely response to the pandemic in the US, such as failure to adequately test suspicious cases, mismanagement of security cases and protocols, and Trump's insistence that critical oversight of the situation was part of a democratic "Farce".
"The European Union has failed to take the same precautionary measures and restrict travel from China and other dangerous areas," Trump said. “As a result, many travelers from Europe transported the virus to the US. After consulting with top government health professionals, I have decided to take many powerful but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. "
"In order to prevent new cases from entering our country, we will suspend all trips from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days," Trump said. “The new rules will come into force at midnight on Friday. These restrictions will be adapted to the conditions prevailing hereafter. There will be exceptions for Americans who have undergone proper examinations, and these prohibitions will not apply to the commerce sector, but to various other things. Everything that comes from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. "
Note that while Trump said during the speech that entry suspensions would also apply to trade and freight, he later clarified in a tweet that this would not apply. The same CDC virus guidance page states that "there is a very low risk of spreading products or packaging shipped over days or weeks at ambient temperatures ”. The president also claimed in his speech that the restrictions apply to "all trips from Europe to the United States" except the United Kingdom, but the White House was also obliged to specify that it applies only to most foreigners (except those with special needs). exceptions, such as those who have been married to a US citizen or legal resident) who have been in the Schengen area for the past 14 days.
The Schengen area is a group of 26 Europeans countries which cover most of Europe and have abolished passport and border controls at their borders. It is not clear whether the Schengen area was actually selected on the basis of it risk.
Trump also insisted during the administration that "for the vast majority of Americans, the risk is very, very low," reiterating assurances he has received from experts. Much remains unknown about coronavirus, which could potentially spread to the US and flood health systems. While studies to date have found that over 80% of cases as a result of only minor symptoms, the mortality rate is subject to many factors, ranging from 0,5% in South Korea to 3,4% worldwide. Trump accurately noted that "the highest danger is for elderly people with underlying health conditions "and that they should be" very careful "saying that the White House advises seniors to restrict unnecessary movement and should be very careful.
It is unclear whether stopping most trips from Europe will help stop the spread of the virus in the US, as the virus has already spread locally for weeks. Even assuming travelers are not just traveling through airports without restrictions or that the cases would not come from countries outside Europe, suspensions could prove meaningless in view of the continuing local outbreaks. Robert Redfield's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that the virus is found in at least 38 states in the United States. Eliminating the spread of the virus will be based more on social distancing, in which Americans will take steps to limit contact with others, including working from home and canceling an event with a large number of expected attendees.
"When you deal with flu-like transmissions, it's like trying to control the wind," Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, told Fortune. "People may want to try to limit their time to large crowds, but I don't think such a restriction on travel is going to help at all. ”
"This virus is already all over the country," Osterholm added. Think of it as seasonal flu. And when was the last time you thought about quarantining the United States for a seasonal flu? ”
Trump has also announced measures to try to support the economy in response to the coronation. They included Treasury suspension payments, plans to introduce a payroll tax cut and increase the Small Business Administration's loan program by $ 50 billion.
"The virus will not stand a chance against us," Trump said. “No nation is more prepared than the United States. We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare care and the most talented doctors, scientists and researchers everywhere in the world. We're all in it together. ”