At least 30 000 detainees and prison staff in the United States contracted the new coronavirus, according to data updated Wednesday, contagions which contribute to the current increase in the number of cases outside of the great initial centers of the pandemic in the country.
About 21 000 detainees and 9000 officers are confirmed cases, according to figures compiled by the law school of the University of California-Los-Angeles. Among them, 285 inmates and 34 employees are dead. Official statistics lag behind these figures independently gleaned by researchers.
In a report published on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) counted 4893 detainees and 2778 members of the prison services infected in 28 April, in 420 prisons and detention centers distributed in 32 US states. According to this study, 88 prisoners and 15 contaminated officers are dead.
These figures undoubtedly greatly underestimate the extent of contagion in prison, as the authors of the report warn, because almost a third of the jurisdictions consulted did not respond, and because many of the infected prisoners are not tested. In the CDC study, half of the prisons reported cases only among officers and not among prisoners.
“Since the officers travel daily between penitentiary establishments and their quarters, they could be an important source of introduction of the virus into establishments”, write the authors, who soberly note that “many establishments do not offer to their employees. “
Prisons combine the factors favoring the pandemic: overcrowded cells, overworked staff, prisoners often suffering from preexisting pathologies, difficulty in disinfecting regularly. In April, a prison in Marion, Ohio, reached the top of the most affected U.S. facilities, including retirement homes, with more than 80% of its some 2500 detained and 175 prison staff declared positive.
“Worse than Pearl Harbor”
In addition, the American president estimated Wednesday that the crisis related to the coronavirus was “worse” than the surprise attack of Japan, in 1941 , against the military base of Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.
“It was the worst attack our country has ever faced. It's worse than Pearl Harbor, “said Mr. Trump, referring to the air offensive that pushed the United States into World War II.
“It is worse than the World Trade Center”, he added in a reference to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 which left nearly 3000 dead.
“There has never been an attack of this nature. And that should never have happened, “he said again, reaffirming his desire to” reopen the country. “
The American president also explained why he finally gave up on eliminating the coronavirus crisis cell set up to organize the federal response to the pandemic.
“I did not realize how popular the crisis cell was,” he said, adding that “two or three” people could be added to it. “She is very appreciated by the public,” he insisted.
Tuesday, Vice-President Mike Pence had indicated that this “Task Force” would be dismantled in the coming weeks to return to a more traditional operation, by departments.
The United States has just crossed the 34 3000 deaths linked to the coronavirus and could reach that of 100 000 before the beginning of June, according to multiple epidemiological models.