Downtown San Diego, yesterday Thursday, shortly before noon: A driver lets his engine roar, races through the central promenade of California’s second largest city. He doesn’t care that the next traffic light turns red. A few moments later, he’s out of sight. The ghostly silence returns. Here in the time-honored Gaslamp Quarter, where thousands of people usually have fun in a restaurant or bar around lunchtime, has been swept empty for seven days.
On Thursday a week ago, California governor Gavin Newsom (52) issued a curfew. Means: All non-existential businesses had to close – delivery service and take out would still be possible. But very few restaurants offer that. Public life in California has been suspended since that Thursday. Also in the metropolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“It’s terrible, today is my last day for the time being,” says Melanie Lee, who runs the last open coffee bar in central San Diego. It served only eight customers in ten hours on Wednesday. «I earned $ 59 including a tip. I will now close first. But I’m afraid that I can never go back. » At least three million Americans were worse off than Lee. According to the “New York Times”, so many people have registered as unemployed in the past week. A new record!
After all, an equally historic aid package is emerging from Washington. Congress has agreed on a 2 trillion package. The Senate has already agreed that the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump (73) should follow suit. However, the economic worries are currently moving into the background.
New York is the epicenter: “It’s apocalyptic”
Since yesterday, the United States has officially been the most affected country in the corona crisis. In total there are over 83,800 infected people – more than anywhere else in the world. More than 1200 people have already died of Covid-19. The dilapidated health system is already reaching its limits in some places.
California is the second most affected state with around 4,000 cases. Because much more infected people are suspected here, Trump has ordered a hospital ship to Los Angeles. The situation in the state of New York is currently much more dramatic. A hospital ship is also scheduled to moor there on Monday, but according to local media, the first hospitals were already overloaded on Thursday. There is a lack of beds and equipment, especially lifesaving ventilators.
New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo (62) repeated on Thursday that an additional 30,000 such devices were needed. Trump sent him 400 in early week. “What should I do if I need 30,000,” he said annoyed.
The Elmhurst hospital in the borough of Queens was particularly hard hit. Thirteen patients died there within 24 hours. In the meantime, a refrigerated car has been placed in front of the building. Hospital employee Ashley Bray says in the “New York Times”: “It’s apocalyptic.” In other places in Manhattan, like after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, tents were set up because the morgues were overcrowded. A city doctor told CNN: “The thought that we’re here in New York City and something like that happens … it’s a third world country scenario.”
Trump wants to open again on Easter Sunday
Donald Trump held a press conference in the White House on Thursday evening. There he told journalists that the number of confirmed infections in the United States was due to the fact that so many tests were being carried out in the country. In other countries such as China, you also don’t know what the real numbers are, Trump continues. In fact, the United States has started extensive corona testing in the past few days.
In February and early March, Trump was criticized for not having enough tests and not taking the virus seriously. The US president then described Covid-19 as a “joke” and predicted that the disease would go away like a “miracle” by April. In the meantime, he has changed course under great pressure. Measures such as entry stops from Europe and border closures to Mexico and Canada came into force in mid-March
Trump’s demand that “normalcy” must return by Easter Sunday is currently causing heated discussions. “We have to open the country again,” Trump said on Tuesday. People should be allowed to gather again and shops should be able to open. Trump: “Easter is a very special day for me … Easter Sunday and we will have full churches everywhere in our country,” he said.
Yesterday, Thursday, when the United States officially became the corona epicenter of the world, he maintained this demand. «People want to work again. You should be able to do that again soon, »he said in the White House. Experts warn, however, that the worst is yet to come in the USA. The peak is not expected until two to three weeks from now.