Trump claims Florida ‘doing well’ as cases pass 1.25m with death toll nearly seven times that of Japan

President blames ‘lockdowns’ as infections surge in Republican-governed states

Coronavirus in numbers
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Donald Trump, while spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, falsely claimed the state is “doing well" amid the coronavirus pandemic while states with Democratic governors are “absolutely ruining the lives of so many people” with stringent lockdown measures.

More than 1.2 million Covid-19 infections have been reported in Florida, whose Republican governor Ron DeSantis is a staunch Trump ally. 

On 26 December, the president said in a post on Twitter that “lockdowns in Democrat run states are absolutely ruining the lives of so many people - Far more than the damage that would be caused by the China Virus. Cases in California have risen despite the lockdown, yet Florida & others are open & doing well. Common sense please!”

More than 21,000 people in the state have died from coronavirus-related illness since the onset of the pandemic. Roughly 23,000 people have died from the coronavirus in California, a state with roughly twice as many people as Florida.

Florida’s death toll is roughly seven times greater than Japan’s, which has a population of more than 126 million.

The state’s seven-day average daily confirmed case count continues to increase week over week, up to more than 11,000 as of the week 23 December – roughly the same as its summer peak.

Meanwhile, California’s cases soared by 68 per cent last week from 9 December, with more than 292,000 cases reported within the last week alone, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Nearly 20,000 people in the state were hospitalised on Christmas Eve.

December has become the deadliest month of 2020, with more than 57,000 coronavirus-linked deaths through the month up to 23 December, and an average of 2,500 deaths every day.

Nationwide surges in infections are being driven by cases in the South and in the West.

Cases in Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas account for 40 per cent of all new cases reported with the past week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The president has repeatedly demanded states “open up” to business as usual despite the worsening public health crisis, absent a coordinated federal response.

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Despite Mr Trump blaming them for the state of the economy and Americans’ wellbeing, "lockdown” measures imposed across the US have not been uniformly adopted, left up to patchwork and inconsistent efforts among state and local governments to combat transmissions.

He also rejected economic relief measures to temporarily help keep Americans at home and businesses closed to keep infections at bay; he is currently refusing to sign a federal spending bill with $900bn in aid that extends unemployment benefits as well an eviction moratorium and provides direct payments of $600 to most Americans.

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