Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Trump will announce state guidelines for reopening the country on Thursday

President Trump wants the country to reopen as soon as possible. Photo by @malisunshine via Twenty20

The past couple of days have been marked by a struggle between state and federal governments over who has the authority to reopen the economy, amid the coronavirus pandemic. And President Trump has doubled down on the role of the federal government.

At the White House press briefing on the coronavirus today, Trump said his administration will be reaching out to governors on Thursday, to announce new federal guidelines about reopening the country.

He said some states would be opening sooner than others, hopefully some as early as May 1st.

“We wanna get our country open again,” Trump said. “We’re gonna have an economy that really comes back quickly.”

This comes after the president had already backpaddled on his earlier statement that the federal government had “absolutely authority” to reopen the country. 

“The president of the United States calls the shots,” Trump said on Monday, in a particularly contentious press briefing. “I have the ultimate authority.”

Then on Tuesday, he said that it would be up to each individual state to return to normal, adding that they would still need his authorization to do so.

“I’m not going to put any pressure on any governor to open,” he said.

Pundits have been quick to point out how his earlier statements were false.

“It’s so plain and obvious it’s not even debatable,” Kathleen Bergin, a professor at Cornell Law School, told NPR. “Trump has no authority to ease social distancing, or to open schools or private businesses. These are matters for states to decide under their power to promote public health and welfare, a power guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.”

Others have criticized Trump for refusing to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order, even though numbers of coronavirus cases were growing rapidly in states like Florida, which only told its residents to stay home at the beginning of April, instead deferring responsibility to state governments.

“The president is certainly the captain of the ship, but he jumped overboard about three months ago, when he decided to leave all the tough decisions to the governors and the mayors,” Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

While Trump continues to refer to May 1st as a desired point of reference for reopening the country, some state governors have indicated that this will be a slow and gradual process.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,  said today that we will see a “phased reopening” and that it will likely take around 18 months to fully get back to the “new normal”. He also announced an executive order requiring residents to wear masks every time they are in a public space where they cannot maintain social distance. California Governor Gavin Newsom has so far abstained from indicating a possible date for ending the stay-at-home order.

“I know you want the timeline, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves and dream of regretting,” Newsom said. “Let’s not make the mistake of pulling the plug too early, as much as we want to.”

Meanwhile, Alabama Governor Will Ainsworth is considering whether the state can get non-essential businesses running again by May 1st. And Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy wants to reopen the state as early as next week.

 Trump, who yesterday announced the U.S. would be cutting funding to the World Health Organization, restated his criticism over the organization’s supposed “mismanagement of coronavirus”.

“I feel very badly about the world health organization,” Trump said. “But it’s been a tool of China.”

However, the president has himself been criticized for his own performance in dealing with the crisis, for failing to respond faster and even downplaying the threat of the spread as late as February.

And experts have come out to discredit his judgment of how the World Health Organization dealt with the pandemic, highlighting their transparency. 

“I have been a longstanding critic and I’ve described their performance on Ebola as catastrophic,” Ashish Jha, a public health professor at Harvard, told The Guardian. “But I think overall their performance on this outbreak has been, not perfect, but pretty good.”


Tags


Other Stories in Special Report: Shutdown: The Coronavirus

The Spirit of Little Haiti

Savannah Daniels October 14, 2020

Small business owners hope for future relief

Courtney Guarino October 2, 2020

Brooklyn Book Festival held virtually

Chuyan Jiang September 28, 2020

NYC Restaurant owners worry about maintaining business during winter 

Isabel Beer September 27, 2020

The pandemic is causing mental health struggles for many Latinos

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 24, 2020

Politically divided family can agree on one thing, rallies are bad during a pandemic

Michelle Diaz September 23, 2020

New Yorkers are vulnerable to mental issues due to pandemic

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 23, 2020

Healthcare professionals struggle with Trump’s decisions during pandemic

Tori Luecking September 23, 2020

Some Americans Say “Not So Fast” on Operation Warp Speed

James Pothen September 23, 2020

Trump voters unfazed by morality of Trump’s Covid response

Norah Hogan September 22, 2020

Trump rallies continue, despite the rising Covid-19 death toll

Isabel Beer September 22, 2020

Latinos weigh in on President Trump’s management of the pandemic

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 21, 2020

Fast track vaccine causes fear

Kaity Assaf September 21, 2020

It’s business as usual at McSorley’s Old Ale House

Tori Luecking September 20, 2020

Trump defiance to hold indoor rallies amidst COVID-19 sparks polarized responses 

Courtney Guarino September 20, 2020

NYC Cafes and restaurants try and survive the pandemic

Isabel Beer September 19, 2020

A typical afternoon at Shade Bar NYC

Kaity Assaf September 19, 2020

West Village staple, Caffe Reggio, remains open for outdoor dining in the wake of coronavirus restrictions 

Norah Hogan September 19, 2020

Fort Greene’s Dino adds outdoor dining to keep business flowing

Courtney Guarino September 19, 2020

COVID-19 hampers Fashion Week for photographers

Daniel Karel September 18, 2020

On the heels of revelation that Trump downplayed the covid threat, voters question rallies resuming

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 16, 2020

Overburdened mothers in Pakistan are relieved as schools reopens

Quratulain Tejani September 13, 2020

Students from different parts of the world struggle as schools reopen during a pandemic

Chuyan Jiang September 12, 2020

Special needs students face learning obstacles during Covid-19

Courtney Guarino September 12, 2020

Back to school – COVID-19 style 

Isabel Beer September 12, 2020

The new normal for school life is abnormal in Michigan

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 11, 2020

California School District Parents and Teachers Clash About Return to School

Norah Hogan September 10, 2020

A tribute to the mask pioneers

Bohao Liu July 11, 2020

Air pollution in China rebounds to pre-COVID level

Hannah Zhang July 11, 2020

ICE takes aim at international students

Maria Abreu July 10, 2020

Chinese students trapped by new ICE policy

Zishu Sherry Qin July 10, 2020

New ICE policy adds more turmoil to the lives of international students

Shiyu Xu July 10, 2020

Lawsuits follow ICE policy barring international students who are taking online classes

Joanna Lin Su July 10, 2020

Economists say the US needs a bold, generous fiscal response. Congress is likely to disappoint. 

Ahmed Mohamed July 9, 2020

Overseas Singaporeans have pandemic obstacles to voting

Yifan Yu July 9, 2020

Proximity sensors and hygiene stations are the “new normal”

Joanna Lin Su July 9, 2020

 Tour ticket vendors miss the hustle and bustle of Times Square

Narkwor Kwabla July 8, 2020

Dengue outbreak could be a greater threat than covid in Singapore

Yifan Yu July 8, 2020

Corporate bankruptcy: ‘A story that’s not going away’

Gaurav Sharma July 7, 2020

Beijing reopens as the second wave of coronavirus dies down

Hannah Zhang July 6, 2020

Masks or no masks?

Bohao Liu July 5, 2020

Varsity Flu

Madeline Gunderson July 3, 2020

Rail travel in China is popular during the pandemic and filled with safety measures

Bohao Liu July 3, 2020

Brazilian international student caught in US travel ban.

Marina Guimaraes July 3, 2020

MTA faces crisis following COVID shutdown

Daniel Girma July 2, 2020

Easter Market goes back to its roots

Kyla Milberger July 2, 2020

China’s Airline Industry Aims to Lure Back Passengers with Unlimited Flight Pass

Zishu Sherry Qin July 1, 2020

US corporate debt soars during coronavirus outbreak

Gaurav Sharma June 30, 2020

In Singapore, gay pride goes online

Yifan Yu June 29, 2020

The Hair Room reopens

Shiyu Xu June 29, 2020