New York (hooly News) – The United States, faced with a sharp increase in the number of deaths, particularly in New York, is on the verge of overtaking Italy in the number of detected cases of new coronavirus, including the ravages for the economy and workers start to appear in the open.
The authorities' race against the clock is startling: just as the Senate approved late Wednesday evening a historic plan of $ 2,000 billion to support the world's largest economy, the pandemic's balance sheet crossed the symbolic threshold of 1,000 deaths on American soil, according to Johns Hopkins University.
With nearly 70,000 cases registered, the country should, at this rate, overtake Italy very quickly and become the second most affected by the pandemic on the planet, after China.
It is in New York, the economic capital known for its extremely dense habitat, that the acceleration is strongest.
The state of the same name had registered Thursday morning 385 dead, 100 additional deaths in 24 hours. The number of cases there also rose in one day from 30,000 to more than 37,000, or more than half of the American cases identified, said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
– The money "dries up" –
In front of the Elmhurst hospital, in a popular neighborhood of the Queens district, around fifty New Yorkers, mostly masked and gloved, were patient Thursday morning to undergo screening, whose authorities have accelerated the rate, with now a ratio one person tested per 160 people, "more than South Korea," said Cuomo.
"We are overwhelmed," said Priscilla Carate, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. "The doctors and nurses in the emergency room were overwhelmed," she added, adding that they were in the process of installing new floors to accommodate patients.
Many patients "are afraid of being close to each other," she said.
Both the mayor and the governor nevertheless stressed that the hospitals had received enough equipment in recent days to deal with the influx, at least in the coming days.
But they also strongly criticized the funds allocated to New York in the enormous rescue plan for the American economy approved unanimously by the Senate, and which must now obtain the green light from the House of Representatives.
The plan "does not help us in the face of lost income" caused by job losses and the shutdown of businesses, which would already reach between 10 and 15 billion dollars, deplored Mr. Cuomo. "I find it irresponsible, dangerous (…) we must help those who need it most".
Because on the employment front, the health crisis is beginning to show its devastating economic effects, while more than half of Americans are now called upon to confine themselves at home and that number of "non-essential" activities are at stop.
The number of new weekly unemployed has reached an unprecedented level. According to these dizzying data released Thursday, 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits for the past week, three million more than the previous week.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was confident that the assistance plan could allow companies to rehire these new unemployed.
And the head of the American Central Bank, Jerome Powell, promised that the institution would continue to lend money "aggressively" to mitigate the economic impact of the epidemic.
– "Second cycle" –
This breath of fresh air could however prove to be only a vital minimum in a country where the "social shock absorbers" are much less than in many Western economies.
This will depend in particular on the duration of the crisis, with diverging forecasts.
Donald Trump now suggests a lifting of restrictions for Easter April 12.
A deadline that is controversial.
Joe Biden, likely Democratic opponent of the Republican president in the November election, said the idea of the Americans returning to work so quickly was "catastrophic."
This "risks causing a second peak of contamination", he warned, even if his interventions seem to have become inaudible as the attention is focused on the daily press conferences of the host of the White House.
Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease specialist with the United States' Covid-19 team, also warned that the epidemic, when it is contained, may come back seasonally.
"It is inevitable to prepare for a second cycle," he said on Wednesday evening, stressing the importance of working on a vaccine and "effective" treatments.