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Donald Trump has claimed the US is “doing very well” in the fight against coronavirus “by comparison to most other countries”, and suggested the truth is being suppressed from the public by “fake news” media.
Of course the actual reason this hasn’t been reported is because it simply isn’t true.
While many countries including the UK are making preparations for a possible second wave in the coming months, the US is still in the grip of a first with the situation deteriorating by the day in a number of states.
If California were a country, it would rank fifth in the world for total cases at nearly 400,000, behind the United States, Brazil, India and Russia. The state’s daily increases have already surpassed the highest daily tally reported by any European country during the height of the pandemic there.
Florida has reported over 10,000 new cases a day for the last six days in a row and Texas has reported over 10,000 cases for five out of the last seven days Reuters reports.
Trump’s tweet was immediately pounced upon with the president accused of “lying” and of being a “clown”.
Earlier on Tuesday Trump posted another tweet in which he advocated the wearing of face masks, describing it as “an act of patriotism”.
The tweet follows months of resistance to being publicly seen in the coverings which are deemed vital to slowing the spread of the virus.
In the tweet, he also referred to the coronavirus as the “Invisible China Virus”.
The president’s response comes after a White House debate over how best to deploy its greatest and most volatile asset – him – played out in public with his poll numbers faltering, PA Media reports.
One week after a 2020 election campaign shake-up, the plan is for Trump to again become a regular public presence at the podium as confirmed coronavirus cases spike across America.
The return to briefings has been championed in the West Wing by senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who advocated publicly last week for Trump to return to the podium to more clearly highlight steps towards economic recovery, but also create a stage to display leadership by addressing Americans’ concerns about Covid-19.
“His approval rating on the pandemic was higher when he was at the podium,” Conway said, in a tacit admission of what is largely unspoken aloud by Trump aides: that he is behind in both public and private surveys.