For the first time in the United States history, President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in all 50 American states on account of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. The president granted the request of Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon to make a declaration in the state – the last state to be so declared – and the petition was granted on Saturday. No American president had ever declared all 50 states a disaster zone at the same time before.
The declaration of emergency in all 50 US states also includes the regions of the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
With over 530,000 coronavirus infections in the United States and 20,608 deaths – according to Johns Hopkins University – the US has overtaken Italy which had the highest COVID-19 deaths in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there are almost 1.9 million coronavirus cases in the world and over 100,000 resultant deaths.
Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere announced President Trump’s declaration in a tweet a few hours ago.
“With Donald Trump’s declaration for WY, the president has now declared for the first time in history that a major disaster exists within all 50 states at once,” Deere tweeted. “The president continues to respond to the needs of every governor to protect the health of all Americans.”
Gov. Gordon made it clear that Wyoming has over 200 coronavirus cases, but the presidential “declaration will help us to prepare and mobilize resources when we need them.”
With the declaration, local governments and states can access federal funding for operational purposes. States will also be able to reach FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies for coordinated emergencies.
Given that social distancing and personal hygiene have been helping to curb the spread of coronavirus, Trump mulled the idea of opening the country again – a move many see as immature and dangerous at this moment. He stated recently that “the number of new cases per day is flattening substantially” and that he would convene a meeting with national leaders and health specialists to determine the move before Easter.
“I’m going to have to make a decision and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision,” the President said Friday. “But I would say without question it’s the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.”