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Trump again claims coronavirus is ‘going to just disappear’ as US sees record number of new cases

More than 48,000 coronavirus cases were announced across the country on Tuesday, the highest number since the pandemic began

Richard Hall
New York
Wednesday 01 July 2020 21:31 BST
Trump claims coronavirus is going to 'just disappear' as US sees record number of new cases

Donald Trump has repeated a claim that the coronavirus is going to “just disappear”, as the United States announced a record number of new cases.

“I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to, sort of, just disappear – I hope,” Mr Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday.

The president’s remarks come amid mounting criticism of his administration’s handling of the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of 129,000 Americans.

More than 48,000 coronavirus cases were announced across the country on Tuesday, the highest daily number since the outbreak began. Eight states reported single-day highs: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

In Houston, where restaurants and bars had reopened in recent weeks following its first lockdown, hospitals reported nearing capacity in intensive care units. Texas hit a record 8,076 new cases on Wednesday – a jump of around 1,000 – as officials announced the closure of some beaches ahead of the weekend.

Mr Trump’s comments on Wednesday were not the first time he has claimed the virus will vanish on its own. Speaking in February, when just over a dozen cases had been confirmed on US soil, Mr Trump said: “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Then, and now, public health officials said the opposite. Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, told Congress on Tuesday that the US could soon witness 100,000 new cases a day.

“I can’t make an accurate prediction but it’s going to be very disturbing,” Dr Fauci told senators in a hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned.”

The spike in cases across several states has prompted others to slow down or reverse their plans to reopen, creating an ad-hoc approach to lockdowns and reopenings in the absence of a coherent national strategy.

New York announced on Wednesday that it would suspend plans to allow indoor dining, scheduled to begin next week.

“The data in this city and this state has been getting better all the time but the data around the country has been getting worse and worse and worse,” Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor, said in a press conference. “The last few days, shockingly worse.”

Orange County, in California, ordered all bars that do not serve food to close after it recorded a record single-day increase in the number of coronavirus infections – 779.

Mr Trump’s approval ratings have sunk to new lows in recent weeks, in part due to his administration’s response to the coronavirus and nationwide protests calling for racial justice sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, currently holds an average lead of nine points over the incumbent, according to a tracker of 2020 polls by RealClearPolitics.

A recent Washington Post and Ipsos poll found that 36 per cent of American adults approve of Trump’s handling of the protests, while 62 percent disapprove. A New York Times poll returned similar numbers.

The same New York Times and Siena College poll found 58 per cent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, while only 38 per cent approve – the worst ratings since the crisis began.

In his Fox Business interview on Wednesday, Mr Trump also praised the economy, despite the country entering a recession in February and with around 13 per cent of the country unemployed.

“Retail sales are at a record number, especially when you talk about increase. When you look at percentage increase nobody has ever seen anything like it,” he said.

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