Trump dismisses uptick in US coronavirus cases and suggests a 'stop' to testing

President: 'If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any'

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Monday 15 June 2020 21:16 BST
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Donald Trump is blaming an uptick in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations solely on an increase in testing rather than his push for governors to reopen their states even as the sometimes-deadly disease continues to spread.

"If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, if any," the president said Monday during an event for seniors at the White House.

A number of states have reported record numbers of sick people requiring hospital stays since the pandemic begin, even as they continue steps to get their economies open again.

But the president and his team have denied that his insistence governors get their states open is causing the increase in cases.

Mr Trump's remark was merely the latest time the president has made strange comments about Covid-19 testing.

He has consistently sounded inconsistent messages, bragging that the US has tested more people than other countries while also complaining that the number of known infections (2.1m) and deaths (over 115,000) are so high because of that testing rate.

Vice President Mike Pence joined him during the same event in blaming the testing for the number of cases.

Mr Pence, still the head of the White House's coronavirus task force claimed "steady progress" in putting coronavirus "farther and farther in the past."

And, like his boss, he said the increases in cases stems from a "dramatic increase in testing."

Meantime, the president gave no indication he might delay a campaign rally scheduled for Saturday night in Tulsa Oklahoma. The county's public health director and others are concerned, as coronavirus cases there climb, a large indoor rally might exacerbate that increase.

"We're going to talk about where we're going, where we come from," Mr Trump said, offering the slimmest of previews of his message in five days in the deeply red state.

"We have hot spots as I said you might [say]," the president said of places with high or increasing infection rates, "we'll take care of the hot spots."

He did not elaborate on how.

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