WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump has insisted that the coronavirus will be brought “under control” even as the country reported at least 67,574 new coronavirus cases and at least 877 new deaths.
The state of Florida reported over 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the fifth day in a row the state has announced over 10,000 new infections.
The virus has claimed over 140,000 American lives since the pandemic started, and Florida, California, and other Southern and Western states shatter records every day. Texas reported 7,300 new cases on Sunday after five straight days of new infections exceeding 10,000.
Despite record levels of new cases nationwide, the Trump administration is pushing for schools to reopen in a few weeks and resisting a federal mandate to wear masks in public.
The United States, with 3.7 million total cases, has almost as many infections as the next three hardest-hit countries combined – Brazil, India and Russia.
Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in an interview broadcast on Sunday. “We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it’s – it’s going to be under control.”
Trump repeated his assertion that the virus would eventually disappear. “I’ll be right eventually,” he said. “It’s going to disappear and I’ll be right.”
Experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that cases and deaths could rise this autumn and winter. Nearly all 20 forecasting models used by the CDC project rising deaths in the coming weeks.
At least 14 states have reported record coronavirus hospitalizations so far in July, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas.
Trump said he did not agree with CDC Director Robert Redfield that this fall and winter would be one of the most difficult times in American public health, as hospitals deal with the seasonal flu on top of COVID cases.
Trump also called Dr.Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, “a little bit of an alarmist.” Fauci has warned that cases could soon top 100,000 a day if Americans do not take steps necessary to halt the spread of the virus.
Testing shortages and delayed results in some states are hampering efforts to curb the outbreak, similar to situations that frustrated state officials and health experts at the start of the pandemic in March and April.
The number of COVID tests performed each day has doubled since late May but remains lower than recommended by some health experts. The United States set a record on Friday with over 850,000 tests performed.