The US state of Florida has reported over 12,000 new cases of coronavirus, on the fifth day in a row the state has announced over 10,000 new infections – even as United States President Donald Trump has pledged that the virus is coming under control.
The virus has claimed over 140,000 lives in the US since the pandemic started, and Florida, California, Texas and other southern and western states have recently been shattering records daily. 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.
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Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in an interview broadcast on Sunday, including his statement that there were only embers of the virus popping up around the country.
“We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it’s – it’s going to be under control,” he said.
On Fox News, Trump repeated his assertion that the virus will 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 (CDC) 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.
Throughout the US, every metric has been rising, including cases, deaths, hospitalisations and positivity rates of test results.
At least 14 states have reported record coronavirus hospitalisations so far in July, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas.
Meanwhile, Trump has said he did not agree with CDC Director Robert Redfield that this autumn and winter will be one of the most difficult times in US public health history, as hospitals deal with the seasonal flu on top of COVID-19 cases.
“I don’t know and I don’t think he knows,” Trump said.
During the interview on Sunday, 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 come together to take steps necessary to halt the spread of the virus.
The country is averaging 60,000 new cases a day and reported a record one-day increase of 77,299 on Thursday.