For the first time in U.S. history, all 50 states are under major disaster declarations, according to Fox News.
The news comes after President Donald Trump signed off on Saturday on such a declaration for the state of Wyoming. The declarations were prompted by the outbreak of COVID-19, which has already infected more than 550,000 and killed over 22,000 in the U.S. alone, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
A historic moment?
The disaster declaration was formally requested by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) on Thursday, according to Fox. At that point, the state had just over 200 cases of the coronavirus disease.
“Though Wyoming has not reached the dire situations of some states, this declaration will help us to prepare and mobilize resources when we need them,” Gordon said Thursday, Fox reported.
The governor said he expected “a swift response to our request from the federal government,” according to WyomingNews.com — and it seems that Trump delivered.
Hope on the horizon?
According to Fox, a federal disaster declaration works to unlock federal funding for state and local governments as well as certain non-profit groups and allows for greater coordination between state and local authorities and their federal counterparts, particularly in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The president’s team has touted the declarations as major steps forward in the fight against the coronavirus.
“With [Trump’s] declaration for [Wyoming], the President has now declared for the 1st time in history that a major disaster exist within all 50 states at once,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere wrote in a tweet Saturday. “The President continues to respond to the needs of every Governor to protect the health of all Americans.”
President Trump, for his part, also seemed optimistic, writing in an Easter Sunday tweet:
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
To be sure, it would be premature to declare victory just yet. More than 1.75 million cases of the disease have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 100,000 deaths, Fox reported.
That said, the day is fast approaching when those numbers will stop climbing — and President Trump won’t stop fighting until it arrives.