Senin, 22 Juni 2020

Coronavirus: Sharp spike in cases makes Donald Trump’s White House nervous - The Australian

Sky News contributor Cam Stewart says "the second spike" of coronavirus is going to "weigh heavily" on the US presidential campaign. "We have 23 states that are going up with the coronavirus at the moment. 11 of those have gone up 50 per cent in the past week and only 17 states are actually going down," Mr Stewart said. "These are disappointing and alarming figures." Mr Stewart said Democratic candidate Joe Biden has "come out of his bunker" but is engaging in a very "tentative" campaign. "President Donald Trump desperately wants to do his rallies. It's a real power base for him but he can't be embarrassed anymore if he does dud rallies," he said. "Trump really wants to have a packed stadium in Jacksonville, Florida but given what happened in Tulsa and with health authorities, I'm not sure that will necessarily happen." Image: AP

US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One at Tulsa International Airport on his way to his campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One at Tulsa International Airport on his way to his campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A sharp spike in new coronavirus cases in the United States threatens to sabotage Donald Trump’s hopes of an economic revival before the November election.

The spike, which has seen the number of new cases jump suddenly from around 20,000 per day to around 30,000 a day, is also likely to reshape the election campaign with the Trump White House reconsidering their strategy after the poor turnout at the Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Health officials in the US have been alarmed by the new coronavirus trends which come as the country’s economy reopens and as people travel and socialise again after three months of virtual lockdown.

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Figures show that coronavirus cases are now rising in 23 states, with 11 of those showing steep increases. The number of new cases is falling in just 17 states with rates in the other 10 states remaining steady.

Former ambassador to the US Joe Hockey has blamed miscalculations by the Trump administration for raising crowd expectations at Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign relaunch in Tulsa. Staffers claimed one million people registered to attend the event while just more than 6,000 people turned up on the day. Mr Hockey said the error was a “gross misjudgment… but they obviously believed it”.

However the death rate continues to slowly fall, averaging around 600 per day from its peaks of over 2000 deaths a day. More than 120,000 Americans have died so far in the pandemic.

The new cases are now mostly spiking in Republican states across the south and the west — states which were initially spared as the virus raged through the country’s northeast, especially New York, in March and April.

Florida is now experiencing a sharp surge in new cases, recording up to 4000 new cases a day with experts at the University of Pennsylvania warning that the state “has all the makings of the next epicentre”.

Meanwhile in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott says new infections and hospitalisations are increasing at an “unacceptable’’ rate as new cases in the state surge to around 3500 a day compared with 1500 new cases in the last half of May.

The rise in new cases has raised fears in the White House that it will prevent a quick rebound in the economy which has seen more than 40 million Americans lose their jobs since in March.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has ruled out another economic shutdown regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

The poor turnout for the president’s rally in Tulsa, which saw just 6200 people attend a stadium with a capacity of 19000, has underscored that health fears are still stopping many from resuming normal life.

The Trump campaign, which was embarrassed by the poor crowd after promising an enormous attendance, says there will be more Trump rallies. But it has not yet scheduled any more amid speculation that it may be weeks or even months before another rally.

Mr Trump’s Democrat challenger Joe Biden has begun to travel to campaign events in person after spending the early months of the pandemic working remotely from his Delaware home. But Mr Biden’s campaign strategy is being tailored to protect the health of the 78-year-old at all costs, with limited travel and everyone who comes into contact with the former Vice President required to wear a mask.

The Democratic National Committee is still undecided on what kind of convention it will hold in Milwaukee in August given the pandemic. Although Mr Biden is expected to appear in Milwaukee in person to accept the nomination, there is unlikely to be a crowd and many convention activities are expected to be held remotely.

The upper section is seen partially empty as US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The upper section is seen partially empty as US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

By contrast, the president is determined to have a full crowd watching his nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, in August despite warnings by health officials that it could endanger the health of those attending.

The Biden campaign this week agreed to hold three presidential debates with Mr Trump in September and October ahead of the November 3 poll.

Mr Biden is currently leading Mr Trump by almost 10 points nationally with the RealClear Politics average of polls showing Mr Biden with 50.6 per cent support compared to Mr Trump on 41.1 per cent.

Mr Biden also holds a small but consistent lead over Mr Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan.

(Cameron Stewart is also US Contributor for Sky News Australia)

Washington Correspondent

Cameron Stewart is an Associate Editor of The Australian who combines investigative reporting on issues of foreign affairs, defence and national security with feature writing on a wide range of topics for the W...

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2020-06-22 23:41:10Z

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