The United States is by far the country most heavily affected by the pandemic with 134,729 deaths according to the count made this Saturday by Johns Hopkins University. According to figures that have been referencing since the start of the new coronavirus crisis, the country again recorded a new contamination record this weekend with 66,528 cases in 24 hours. Is this terrible observation the cause of the first late public appearance of Donald Trump with a mask? Nothing is less certain as the billionaire's policy on the Covid-19 is of variable geometry.
This first masked appearance of the president, during a visit to the Walter Reed military hospital in the suburbs of Washington, has a strong symbolic value in this country where the wearing of the mask facing the disease is the subject of a debate. partisan. So why can't the United States reverse the curve?
There are many explanations and it is the ultimate reference across the Atlantic that has finally summed up the issues the best: Dr Fauci, the most famous immunologist in the country and who advises the president. For the scientist, the first problem: the disparity of health policies between states, cities, counties of the continent makes the fight against the virus complicated, as he explained in a long interview to the site FiveThirtyEight.
"Certain parts of the country, like certain cities or New York, have taken control of things," said Anthony Fauci at the specialized site this Thursday. But as a country, when we compare ourselves to others, I don't think you can say that we were doing well, ”he said.
" It is complicated "
The obvious reason for the increase in the number of cases in the United States is for the specialist in a mix between political decisions and a part of the population reluctant to follow health recommendations. “It is not a one-dimensional thing. It is complicated. There are governors and mayors who played the game perfectly, ”he added. "What happened is that many citizens said: You know, either I am locked up, or I tear it all up . And you could see, just by watching television or the newspapers, photos of people in bars and rallies, which are perfect clusters, especially if you don't have a mask… ”, lamented the doctor.
Another criticism of America is that the deconfinement of certain states is too rapid compared to the reality of their situation. "There are times when, despite the guidelines and recommendations for prudent opening, some states have ignored them and opened too quickly," the ambulance operator, the head of the National Allergy Institute, shot at the ambulance. Infectious diseases. Particularly targeted, Florida and Arizona, where the situation is critical. Other examples, in Georgia, Atlanta decreed Friday a return to a strict containment phase after partially reopening the city to normal operation. Hospitals in Texas say they are saturated.
A dangerous partisan schism
The other reason for this unprecedented health crisis in the United States: the partisan schism that runs through American society. There too, the professor regrets this fracture which contributes to the spread of the new coronavirus.
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“You have to be blindfolded and cover your ears to think that we are not living in a very divided society today, from a political point of view. I mean, it's just unfortunate, but that's what it is, "said Dr. Fauci. “And you know from historical experience that when you don't have unanimity in approaching something, you're not as effective in the way you treat it. So I think we have to start from the principle that if there were not so many divisions, we would have a more coordinated approach ", bitterly noted the one who does not share the vision of Donald Trump on the management of epidemic. The president's luck is that currently, the curve of deaths does not match that of infections which literally explodes.
This is where the mask controversy becomes emblematic of the difficulties that American scientists have in getting their prevention message across. Donald Trump has thus contributed to making this issue an issue of political controversy, because the refusal to wear the mask is seen in part of American society as an affirmation of the individual freedom of the citizen vis-à-vis the federal and international authorities.
On Saturday evening, Trump put on a dark blue mask to visit combat-injured U.S. servicemen. "When you talk to soldiers who have just come out of the operating table, I think it's very good to wear a mask," he told reporters before the visit. "I have never been against masks, but I am convinced that it depends on the time and place," he said. A statement that will not help clarify the proper use of health measures for the American population.