According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 83,000 people in the U.S. have been infected with the deadly disease, compared to China—where the outbreak began in late 2019—which has 81,782 confirmed cases, while Italy is at 80,589, per Complex.
During Thursday’s White House press briefing, Trump used the report to brag about the country’s high testing capacity.
“I think it’s a tribute to our testing,” he said. “No. 1, you don’t know what the numbers are in China … But you just don’t know what are the numbers. But I think it’s a tribute to the testing. We’re testing tremendous numbers of people … So, we’ll see what happens there. But it’s a tribute to the amount of testing we’re doing. We’re doing tremendous testing. And I’m sure you’re not able to tell what China is testing and not testing. I think that’s a little hard.”
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REPORTER: “?? now has the most cases.”
TRUMP: “I think it’s a tribute to our testing.” ?
From “we’re going to zero” to bragging about having the most cases. The con job continues! pic.twitter.com/yUo3wVHDI4
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) March 26, 2020
Trump has had a dismissive response to the crisis since February, when he stressed that the virus would “disappear.”
“One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” he said during a Black History Month reception at the White House. “And from our shores, you know, it could get worse before it gets better. Could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.”
During a February interview with Eric Bolling, Trump cited his travel ban for the low number of reported COVID-19 cases.
“I think it’s really going well. We did something very fortunate: we closed up to certain areas of the world very, very early — far earlier than we were supposed to,” he said. “I took a lot of heat for doing it. It turned out to be the right move, and we only have 15 people and they are getting better, and hopefully they’re all better. There’s one who is quite sick, but maybe he’s gonna be fine. … We’re prepared for the worst, but we think we’re going to be very fortunate.”
One month ago today, Trump said “when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
As of today, the US, with 81,782 confirmed cases, has more total cases than any country in the world.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 26, 2020
Trump would later make clear that he takes “no responsibility” for the surge of coronavirus cases in the U.S. Instead, he has attempted to cast blame on the Chinese government and former president Barack Obama.
As the US becomes the country with the most COVID-19 cases, Trump is pushing to reopen the economy. This response has drawn mixed reactions, with comedian Michael Rapport being the latest celeb to blast the president in an expletive-filled video rant — check out the clip below.
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) March 25, 2020