United States, Federal Government, Florida discussed on WSJ What's News
Corona virus cases in the US continue to surge hitting a new daily record of sixty three thousand yesterday four months into the pandemic, the US now accounts for nearly a quarter of all cases globally. The Wall Street Journal took a look back at how we got here. And how mixed messages from authorities and a patchwork of policies have made it more difficult to contain the virus joining me now with more details as our reporter, Arian, Campo Flores. On you looked into failures at several levels of government that have contributed to the surgeon cases. We're now seeing in states across the country, particularly in the south and West. You're in Florida. Tell us what you're hearing and seeing on the ground there so in Florida you know the State had fared relatively well in the early going with the pandemic, as the number of cases with surging and a lot of other parts of the country, they remained relatively manageable in Florida. But. That began to change as a state loosened, and more restrictions opened up. Restaurants opened up bars and people began to congregate more and so what we've seen in recent weeks in Florida are skyrocketing numbers records being broken on an nearly daily basis at times, part of the issue that critics have raised when it comes to Florida is that. There hasn't really been a one single clear coordinated statewide response. To Alvis is handled it. WHAT THE GOVERNOR! Rhonda Sanders has done instead is deferred much of the decision making to local governments and has led cities and counties decide. What they're going to shut down what they're going to reopen when they're going to reopen it, what that is created is this kind of patchwork effect where you have you know different parts of the state, even sometimes neighboring cities and counties with different policies in place, which creates a bit of confusion for people who are just trying to navigate what the rules are, and you had this playing out in other areas across the country as well situations where authority on the decision making was passed down from the federal level to state authorities, then two localities. What did you hear from experts about the necessity of having a clear national plan throughout the course of a pandemic? So epidemiologists think that enlarge part. It makes sense to have a nationally focused. Uniform response to pandemic because pan-demic. Knows, no boundaries knows the city or county or state boundaries a- pandemic spread, and so by having kind of centralized and coordinated response. It allows you to for instance build up an effective nationwide testing program that ensures that where the tests are needed most. They're being sent. It allows for the creation of a contact tracing program that permits governments to respond very quickly to flare ups of the virus. That is something that we've seen effective in other countries in places like South, Korea, even another federalist states like Germany they've managed to work this. This out more effectively than we have in the US, and so you know this is an instance where, by deferring so much of the decision, making to states who, then in turn, often defer the decision making to local governments, you just get this effect of just a very sort of inconsistent, sometimes haphazard approach, which wondrous, Dixon is going at it and one way and another in a completely different way. We've also seen a shift in the federal response since the start of the pandemic, and in terms of giving states more authority or less authority. How is that shift factored into what we're seeing playing out across the country right now? Observers of how the administration has handled. This response are critical of. Mixed messages that have come from the federal government so for instance on the issue of masks early on there were statements made from the administration that people should not be trying to get hold of masks because they weren't effective, and the concern at the time was that there was a shortage of masks, and they wanted to ensure that people weren't grabbing them in depriving those who are on the front lines, first responders and the like. Like from getting what they needed that obviously changed over time, and now we get a message that masks are actually very important response and a very important tool that people should be using and so there's a lot of encouragement to use masks. Another example is mixed messages in terms of how to go about the reopening. You know you had president trump at times cautioning the opening process needed to be methodical and then at other times. Prodding and goading certain states that we're being hit by protests about the speed of the reopening, telling them they needed, they needed to quote. Liberate themselves, so the the effect again is that it's a lack of clear uniform guidance for governments to follow, and instead you know a lot of confusing messaging. The federal government responded to questions about National Strategy and questions about weather, and how it's working with states during the pandemic administration officials say that. They have been working hand in hand with states each step of the way ensuring that they are getting the equipment that they need. The testing supplies the kits. All the resources that would help help them respond effectively. They also say that you should pay attention, not just to the the numbers of cases, but to look at the tally of fatalities which they point out on a per capita basis is actually lower than some European countries. They also say that the US is kind of a unique creature in. It's a very large diverse sprawling country we face. Economic pressures to reopen compared to Europe and that there's less of a safety net for workers in the US. Compared to some European countries, and so there was more pressure to get. The economy geared up and back in action. You also spoke to some public health experts about measures. They believe the federal government could and should be taking now to help. Tell us more about what you heard from them. Well one one example would be that you know the US. In place a really effective contact tracing program, you know the point of doing the lockdowns, and you know forcing people to stay at home, and essentially shutting down the economy for a few months was to give the country the time and the space to be able to ramp up its response and part of that would have involved having a really robust. To quickly identify all the people that newly-infected folks were coming into contact with to try to stamp out those flare ups another thing that happened He. said. We could have done better was a more comprehensive lockdown you know. He pointed out in an interview with us that whereas in the European Union, you know you had basically nearly ninety percent of the country effectively locked down. The percentage in the US, more fifty percents it was, it was significantly lower, and so you had we. We were never really able to get our baseline case count. Down really far enough to be able to then stamp about flare ups more effectively. That's Wall Street. Journal reporter Ariane Campo Flora Rei. Thank you so much for joining me more pleasure. Thank you and that's what's news for this week. Our hosts army and Marie for Tony and Mark Stewart. The show was produced this week with help from mark. Garrison Qatari Yokum Sam Western and Kristen, XLII. We'll be back on Monday morning. Thanks for listening..