The economic pressure on the land is enormous. The central bank predicts that unemployment can rise to 30 percent. In a week, three million people applied for benefits: so much that the computer systems couldn’t handle it. And some large companies were in danger of falling.
To everyone’s relief in the US, parliament has reached an agreement on the largest bailout package in US history, totaling $ 2 billion. An average American will receive $ 1,200, unemployment benefits will be extended and increased, and there will be $ 800 billion to help businesses, especially in the form of loans.
One third of all Americans are ordered to stay at home. And in a country where two thirds of the economy consists of consumer spending, that is disastrous. So President Trump wants to start things up again soon. Some party members point out that the virus is especially deadly for the elderly. Wouldn’t it be smarter to let them, and people with underlying diseases, stay at home? You can also think of an arrangement whereby people who have survived the disease can return to work.
Opponents of this idea say that everyone should be saved. Governor Cuomo of New York: “We are not going to put a price on a human life. We are going to save people. Only then will we look at the costs.”
New York is the epicenter of the contagion in the US, because many international travelers come here and because people live on top of each other here – and therefore quickly infect each other. The state, with 19 million inhabitants, has ten times as many cases as other areas in the US. The governor expects to need another 140,000 hospital beds.
In a week there may already be a shortage of hospital beds. However, the state is not completely locked. People are still allowed to go outside for groceries and to get a breath of fresh air or to run around. New York City, known for its crowds, is extinct.
“We are not China”
But other states, such as Mississippi, are not taking any action. “We are not China,” said the governor there, though clusters of contamination have been found just outside the borders of his state. Florida is also slow to respond, although many older pensioners live there.
How Americans view the crisis also depends on their political preference. Democrats are more alarmed than Republicans. Among left-leaning voters, only 14 percent trust President Trump to handle the situation well. That’s in part because the worst-hit areas in America are the major cities in left-wing states.