Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Trump’s press briefings may be on their way out

Donald Trump’s daily press briefing may not return.

White House press briefings have been a fixture of daily news since the rise of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, in early March. In total, there have been close to 50.

 But they may soon come to a halt, or at least become less frequent.

Still dealing with the fallout from his controversial words about the possibility of treating coronavirus patients by injecting them with disinfectant, President Trump cut short Friday’s press briefing and canceled Saturday’s and today’s.

Instead he went Twitter, he went on to question the validity of press briefings, attacking the media for their “hostile questions” and news coverage.

Trump’s statement on Thursday ignited a storm of criticism, from politicians to health experts, condemning the commander-in-chief for floating such a dangerous idea. Even the makers of disinfectant products felt the need to put out statements clearly advising people against ingesting their products.

Turning to medical experts on the coronavirus taskforce, the president mused about whether injecting disinfectant or UV light into the body could prove to be an effective treatment.

“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks [the virus] out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning (…) It would be interesting to check that,” he said.

The next day, Trump was grilled by a reporter on his statements and said that he was only being sarcastic.

The President has previously promoted other treatment methods with little to no scientific evidence of being effective, most notably hydroxychloroquine, a drug commonly used for malaria. According to director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is part of Trump’s team, the data on its effectiveness in treating Coronavirus is “at best suggestive”.

As Trump’s approval numbers have dwindled back to low 40s in recent weeks and democratic challenger Joe Biden has gained battleground in some states, Trump is under pressure to drive his reelection campaign forward. His response to the coronavirus, which has faced plenty of criticism, has become central to the campaign.

And now Trump’s own advisors seem to think that the President’s “near-constant presence on television” might actually be working against him, according to Politico. Some are insisting that he shorten the length of the daily briefing and leave the medical advice to experts.

“I am worried about overexposure, yes,” a source close to Trump told Politico. “Bickering with the media for two hours on live television does nothing to help Americans who are struggling right now and want to know how and when their lives will return to normal.”

Even without a press briefing, yesterday Trump still gave his two-cents on Georgia’s reopening of certain businesses this weekend. Trump has voiced support for stay-at-home protestors, but he doubled down on his criticism towards Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision, tweeting that he was “NOT happy” with him.

On twitter rampage today,Trump attacked, which included the media, the Democrats and political analyst, Donna Brazile who works for  Fox News. The networks  coverage is usually favorable.

Some states to reopen

Meanwhile many states will remain shutdown, others have stay-at-home orders that will expire in a few days, by April 30. And four states have already relaxed measures in some form.

In Georgia, businesses like gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys were allowed to reopen, provided that they maintain social distancing rules and screen employees. And on April 27 theaters and restaurants will follow suit. South Carolina, Oklahoma and Alaska have likewise allowed some businesses to reopen, with certain rules.

Today Governor Cuomo announced a rough plan on how New York state, which has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus, will reopen. “Phase 1” will ses the reopening of construction and manufacturing activities which pose a low risk of infection, by around the middle of May. And “Phase 2” will include other industries, depending on their priority and risk levels.

“We need businesses to do that analysis,” Cuomo said, adding that there need to be safeguards and precautions in place and that the way each business plans to open will determine the risk factor.”

Cuomo’s plan will follow federal guidance from the CDS, which says that hospitalizations must be down for at least 14 days before the state reopens. In New York, numbers have already been going down for almost two weeks. And the plan will apply differently depending on which part of the state. Central New York and North County, for example, will likely be first, contrary to other more dense areas, like New York City.

Cuomo also said that there will be a period of two weeks in between phases, in order for state officials to monitor the progress of the spread and determine whether it’s safe to proceed.

“All that progress we made by flattening that curve, we could lose that in a matter of days if we’re not careful,” Cuomo said.

 


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