in the United States, "Donald Trump enjoys a rallying reflex around the flag"

On the road to the White House in Washington on April 1, 2020. ERIC BARADAT / AFP

Correspondent from World in Washington, journalist Gilles Paris answered questions from Internet users in a chat dedicated to the management of coronavirus in the United States. He notably mentions "Foot changes" that Donald Trump has multiplied in his statements.

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Analia: Are there states more spared than others by the epidemic, and why?

Gilles Paris: All the states have registered cases of contamination but, not surprisingly, the Midwest states are less affected than the two coasts and the metropolises. There are also significant differences within these categories. Washington State, which was the first to be massively affected, has so far managed to control the spread of the virus. This was not the case in the New York metropolis, where the challenge is enormous.

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In fact, there is no federal containment policy. The latter is the responsibility of the States and is left to the discretion of the governors. Donald Trump has simply set out general rules regarding barrier gestures and the prohibition of rallies.

Boouloun: How is the Trump administration's handling of the crisis judged by the Americans?

Reading polls highlights a "rally around the flag" reflex from which Donald Trump benefits. In this context of crisis, the favorable judgments made about his presidency have never been so high. They became mainly positive in some barometers, even if the negative opinions still prevail by little (2.5 points) in the aggregator of the site RealClearPolitics, which takes into account all opinion measures.

Donald Trump has multiplied the changes of foot, first by minimizing the danger, then by presenting himself as a president "For wartime", on March 18, then speaking of a rapid resumption of the country, on March 24, before suddenly backtracking six days later, but the Americans do not hold it against him for the moment. This surge in popularity, however, cannot be compared to that of a very exposed governor, Andrew Cuomo, of New York State, who is almost unanimous.

Donald Trump benefits, it is true, from an impressive media exposure: he is omnipresent in the daily press conferences often endless (two ten ten yesterday) and these meetings are very followed, as he repeats himself with a demonstrable satisfaction, comparing them to audiences on reality shows.

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James: what are the consequences of the epidemic on the presidential campaign?

For the moment, the primaries for the democratic nomination are at a standstill. A good part of the states rejected theirs in June. Former Vice-President Joe Biden has a solid delegate lead over his rival, Senator Bernie Sanders (1,217 versus 914), but the latter has no intention of giving up.

If the epidemic continues, it will pose a major organizational problem for the Democratic camp, the candidate of which will not have the time necessary to prepare for the switch to the general election. Nomination conventions, these big popular gatherings, could also become headache. That of the Democrats is scheduled for mid-July and that of the Republicans was set for the end of August. One detail: the dates of the primaries are up to the States, so they can modify them as they please.

It is different with the presidential election, which can hardly be moved, it would indeed require a federal law, which presupposes a consensus in Congress, as well as a constitutional amendment to postpone the date of the swearing in. Both are unlikely.

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Arthur: Is it true that some patients cannot or do not want to go to the hospital because they do not have health insurance?

It is true, in the absence of a universal health care system, the situation is particularly complex in the United States, where a multitude of different situations coexist. The poorest benefit from a federal program, Medicaid. Employed people have health insurance paid for by their employer (this applies to the majority of Americans), but this may not cover all care.

The uninsured find themselves in this in-between, either because they exceed the Medicaid ceiling, or because they work in companies that are too small, or that they did not subscribe to the Obamacare program for reasons financial.

For the moment, the consequences of the health crisis are as follows: people made redundant due to the shutdown of the country to stem the progression of the epidemic will continue to benefit from health insurance from their employer , but only for a limited period, some insurance companies have also specified that they would bear the health costs associated with Covid-19 even if they were not provided for in the contracts, but not all haven't. In addition, the billions released urgently by Congress in March should make it possible to treat the patients of Covid-19, but only of this disease.

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EtudiantEnExamen: Aren't fears linked to the health care system likely to lead, after the crisis, to large-scale social mobilizations against Donald Trump's removal of the Obamacare?

The Obamacare program which targets the uninsured has not disappeared. Donald Trump’s attempts to suppress him have all failed, he has even become paradoxically popular since the billionaire came to power. The latter will probably not have time for a new offensive before the presidential election in November, but, significantly, he opposed yesterday an exceptional reopening of registrations (these are annual contracts) requested by Democrats and health specialists in the context of the health crisis.

Questions related to health coverage were central to the Democratic primaries, before the appearance of the virus interrupted them. They may become one of the main subjects of the presidential election, depending on the human toll of the pandemic.

In front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, April 1, 2020.
In front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, on April 1, 2020. SPENCER PLATT / AFP

Je kiffe journaliste du…: What type of unemployment or partial unemployment system exists in the United States?

The absence of an economic shock absorption device, such as short-time working, explains the number of 3.2 million new job seekers registered at the end of March, a figure which increased again to reach 10 million Thursday April 2. He forced Congress to release $ 2.2 trillion (roughly € 2 trillion) urgently, part of which will be redistributed to the unemployed in the form of checks, the amount of which will be commensurate with ordinary income.

This mechanism sparked outrage from elected Republicans, who calculated that in some states beneficiaries would receive more than the minimum wage. Democrats argue, however, that this arrangement will not be sufficient in the medium term and that it will soon have to be supplemented by another support plan.

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Maëlle: Hello, are there any controversies similar to those observed in Europe: lack of masks, protective equipment, respirators or medication?

Yes, we are witnessing exactly the same phenomena with a lag of a few days. The main controversy is that between the governors and a federal state deemed too slow. Donald Trump mostly responded by questioning previous administrations, which would not have built up the necessary stocks, even if he has been in power for more than three years.

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