US president Donald Trump is ramping up attempts to force people back to work even as coronavirus sweeps the country and deaths mount.
Trump wants large sections of businesses to reopen by 1 May—whatever the cost in human lives. Across the US thousands of people are dying, with many other deaths still unrecorded.
Police discovered 17 corpses piled up in a New Jersey nursing home last week. The corpses had been stacked in a small morgue designed to hold a maximum of four bodies.
Yet Trump is pressuring state governors to back him.
On Friday of last week he posted a series of tweets effectively promoting small far right groups that were demonstrating in state capitals against mainly Democratic governors to demand the immediate lifting of lockdowns.
Most of the anti-lockdown protesters wore pro-Trump material. Some carried assault rifles. Some displayed Nazi insignia and carried Confederate flags.
A report from Michigan by the Marx21 socialist group said, “Perhaps more significantly, the protest had powerful backers in the pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party.
“The Freedom Fund, one of the groups behind the action, was founded by an adviser to the family of billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.”
Now the governors for Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky have formed a partnership to work together on restarting the economies in their states, which collectively account for about 16 percent of total US economic output.
Currently over 41,000 people in the US are reported to have died of the virus.
Yet Trump refuses to be held accountable.
A reporter from the television broadcaster CBS, Weijia Jiang, asked Trump to explain why people weren’t warned quickly enough. Trump replied by asking her to “keep her voice down”.
Vice president Mike Pence indicated that, due to a proposed roll out of testing for the virus, the US will be able to soon return to business as usual.
Experts have cast doubt on this and have estimated that 20 to 30 million people per day will need to be tested in order for the US to go back to work.
Trump’s reckless plans will be contested.
Strikes are continuing to break out in several areas.
Last week Chicago fast food workers from over 50 restaurants walked out to protest unsafe working conditions, after a McDonald’s employee tested positive.
Hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers across the US were set to refuse to show up for work this week by calling in sick.
Starting on Tuesday, more than 300 Amazon employees have pledged to stay home from work, according to worker rights group United for Respect. Anger has grown over protection and support for Amazon employees.
Workers claim the company has failed to provide enough face masks for workers, did not implement the regular temperature checks it promised at warehouses, and has refused to give workers paid sick leave.
The battle is also beginning over who will pay for the crisis.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio last week proposed a budget with around £650 million in education cuts.
Unions said the cuts were unacceptable and pledged to fight them.