At the time of Covid-19, California asserts itself as a "nation-state"

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaking to the Navy’s Mercy Hospital in Los Angeles Harbor on March 27.
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaking to the Navy’s Mercy Hospital in Los Angeles Harbor on March 27. Carolyn Cole / AP

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States experienced an extraordinary period of national unity. Candles in the streets, patriotic outbursts, an unprecedented collective fervor. Air traffic had been interrupted. The United States was cut off from the world, but had never been so close: we were "all American."

Nothing like this with the Covid-19 "attack". Since the first case occurred on January 21 in Washington State, the epidemic has spread without causing collective sentiment or patriotic surge. Not even one of those hashtags "#strong" that now accompany natural disasters or shootings.

Read also The coronavirus in the world: Europe and the United States, lasting epicenters of the pandemic

An effect, of course, of "social distancing" measures. Salvation will come from isolation, not from candlelight gatherings. We are wary, even of those close to us, we make detours in the street so as not to meet anyone. The world before fell apart in less time than it takes to write it. The country is paralyzed. Almost half of domestic flights have already been canceled. By Monday, there are only 20 flights left from the United States to Europe. In shock, the Americans have not (yet) found a way to revive the collective spirit. And, unlike Europeans, few have balconies.

Each in his social “cluster”

Of course, social networks are teeming with individual initiatives. Old computers are being repaired for distribution to school children forced to take online courses. Surgical masks are sewn for nursing staff. Volunteers everywhere offer the elderly the opportunity to do their shopping and drop the disinfected provisions at their door. Between March 20 and 24, the number of coronavirus-related calls on the GoFundMe fundraising platform increased to 35,000, an increase of 60% in four days.

But everyone is confined to their social "cluster", especially as the epidemic has its own timetable. In San Francisco, residents have been under house arrest since March 16. In Phoenix, they continue to shop at Paradise Valley Mall. On March 26, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, a center for epidemiological studies funded by Bill Gates, estimated that 81,000 deaths could be expected in the next four months in the United States. . A total that could be "Significantly higher" if the shortage of beds in intensive care units is not corrected and if the containment measures are not "Vigorously" maintained. The institute has prepared state-by-state projections: 10,243 dead in New York, the most affected; 5,847 in Texas; 6,109 in California. With different dates from surge ("Influx") sick: April 6 in New York, April 24 in California, May 14 in Florida…


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