COVID-19: USA blames China for endangering world

Clay Curtis
March 27, 2020

President Trump has told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump said he planned to speak by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday night.

"Since the USA still doesn't have enough tests to meet demand, the most immediate action we can take right now is to prioritize who gets tested", a representative of the American Clinical Laboratory Association said about the situation in an email to NPR on Wednesday.

Most of the reductions occurred over the past two years, as part of a large reduction of U.S. -funded health and science experts at the Beijing office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Trump, pushing to reopen the country by the Christian holiday, on April 12, outlined the plan in a letter to governors after reporting that a record 3.28 million people - 2 percent of the United States workforce - applied for unemployment benefits last week.

Trump's Easter target date laid bare the tensions between White House advisors who are eager to get the economy back on track and public health officials who are leery of pegging the recovery efforts to a specific deadline, especially one as close as April 12.

"It's nobody's fault, certainly not in this country", he said.

"Wouldn't it be great to have all of the churches full?" "You'll have packed churches all over our country".

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Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction - staying home from work and isolating themselves - the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system, as it has in parts of Italy, leading to many more deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has floated the possibility that a peak number of cases in the USA would not arrive until around May 1, appeared to dial back public expectations, saying new federal guidelines would allow for "flexibility in different areas". "So you've got to respond, in what you see happen".

"I think, Easter, the president was giving people a lot of hope and basically telling us it won't last forever, and we'll see what happens over time", she told reporters Thursday.

World Health Organization has been facing backlash for appreciating China's efforts to tackle the outbreak, even as the country gets blamed for delayed action.

While the worst outbreaks are concentrated in certain parts of the country, most significantly in NY, experts warn that the highly infectious disease is certain to spread.

The president explained that this initiative can be achieved through the increased COVID-19 testing across the nation, providing data allowing the federal government to classify counties "with respect to continued risks posed by the virus" as the spread of the disease is monitored.

Suderman reported from Richmond, Va.

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