All 50 states under disaster declaration for first time in US history
All 50 states are under a major disaster declaration for the first time in U.S. history, after President Trump approved Wyoming’s declaration Saturday.
Within 22 days, Trump declared a major emergency in all 50 states and most territories through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The final disaster declaration occurred on the same day U.S. surpassed Italy to become the country with the most deaths from the virus.
Trump approved the first major disaster declaration for coronavirus in New York on March 20, followed two days later by Washington and California, the early hot spots of the virus. New York has become the hardest-hit state, recording 188,694 positive cases and 9,385 deaths from the virus, according to the state’s health department.
The U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico all received approved major disaster declarations. American Samoa is the only U.S. territory that has not received a disaster designation.
Trump praised the declarations in a tweet Sunday, saying, “We are winning, and will win, the war on the Invisible Enemy!”
For the first time in history there is a fully signed Presidential Disaster Declaration for all 50 States. We are winning, and will win, the war on the Invisible Enemy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
The FEMA declaration makes federal funding available to the states to use to fight the spread of the virus. State and local governments have struggled to obtain enough medical supplies amid the pandemic, with some governors saying there have been bidding wars between states and with the federal government.
The U.S. has the most cases in the world at at least 547,681, leading to at least 21,686 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Italy has documented at least 19,899 fatalities.
Worldwide, more than 1.8 million cases have been identified, leading to at least 113,362 deaths.
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