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Effects due to corona virus: Trump holds out prospect of economic measures

US President Donald Trump has announced a package of measures to counter the economic effects of the new corona virus.

At a short-term appearance in Washington, Trump announced that the government wanted to talk to Congress about, among other things, wage tax relief and small business loans. Aid is also being considered for people who are paid hourly wages – for whom particular hardship arises in the event of a loss of work due to an illness.

Today, there should be talks with representatives of Congress, Trump said. Talks with airlines, cruise operators and the hotel industry are also planned. They are particularly affected by the current virus crisis.

Trump did not become more concrete at first. He announced a press conference for this afternoon (local time) to talk in detail about the further planned economic steps after these talks.

The spreading corona virus and a crash on the international oil markets had caused the US stock market to collapse on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial fell to its lowest level since the beginning of last year. In the past two weeks, the Dow had already lost almost eleven percent – burdened above all by the impending consequences of the corona virus for the global economy.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they would use whatever means are available to protect the American economy from the effects of the corona virus. The situation was not comparable to the one in the financial crisis, he said, and assured the United States had the most resilient economy in the world.

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Worldwide, more than 110,000 people have now been shown to be infected with the new corona virus, according to experts, the number of unreported cases is much higher. In the United States, the number of infections has skyrocketed in the past few days. The US health agency CDC had initially spoken on Monday of 423 infections and 19 deaths from the virus. CDC chief Robert Redfield said on Monday evening (local time) at the appearance with Trump that the number has now reached more than 500 cases of infection. According to the New York Times, there were already more than 660 infections and more than 25 deaths in the United States on Monday evening (local time).

The development puts Trump’s government under increasing pressure to act. The president had tried to calm the population in recent days and argued that the situation was sometimes exaggerated. The general risk of infection in the US is low and the country is well prepared.

Vice President Mike Pence, who coordinates government efforts around the virus, also said on Monday that the general population’s risk of getting infected remains low. Older people and people with previous illnesses are particularly at risk. At the same time, he admitted that the country had to prepare for further infections.

Recently, several senior Republican politicians announced that they would voluntarily quarantine as a precautionary measure after contacting a later Covid 19 patient at a conference in Washington a few days ago. Two of these Republicans have been in contact with Trump himself in the past few days. The President himself had attended the Washington conference. In the past few days, however, Trump has explicitly emphasized that he is not personally concerned about the development. The spokeswoman for the White House, Stephanie Grisham, also said on Monday that everything was going as usual in the government headquarters.

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Trump ignored questions about whether he had already been tested for the virus when he appeared, and left the press conference prematurely. Pence said the White House would provide the answer later. He has not yet taken a test.

As in many other countries, various major events in the USA have already been canceled due to the spread of the corona virus. It is unclear how the crisis will affect the ongoing pre-election campaign in America – and whether election campaign events could possibly be canceled in the coming weeks. The next pre-election round is scheduled for Tuesday with votes in six US states.

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