White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared on “Fox and Friends,“ touting the likelihood of a coronavirus vaccine that health officials say remains months away .“We have to adjust our personal lifestyle in a temporary basis, because help is on the way,” he said.
Meadows said Trump would be willing to wear a mask in tight quarters, but said mask mandates should be a state issue.
Thirty-two states saw their coronavirus cases increase during the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The increases are fueled by spikes in California, Florida and Texas, where hospitalizations approached record highs.
On Sunday, Florida’s total case count passed 200,000. The same day, California set the single-day state record for recorded coronavirus cases with 11,786.
The increase in coronavirus cases comes amid a rise in testing. But experts say the uptick in Covid-19 cases is not simply due to the expansion of testing, which is rising more slowly than the number of new infections.
Yet as cases trend upward, death rates are declining. The number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the United States is now around 600 a day, compared to as many as 3,000 a day in April and May.
While a subsequent increase in deaths may come weeks after a rise in positive coronavirus tests, experts say the current decreasing death rates are caused by widespread testing, improved treatments and the virus affecting greater numbers of younger Americans.
Trump celebrated the decline in death rates in a series of weekend tweets.
New China Virus Cases up (because of massive testing), deaths are down, “low and steady”. The Fake News Media should report this and also, that new job numbers are setting records!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2020
“In a certain way, our tremendous Testing success gives the Fake News Media all they want, CASES,” he wrote on tweeted. “In the meantime, Deaths and the all important Mortality Rate goes down.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday touted the lower mortality rates as a sign of success.
“This president takes Covid seriously, but we should note the mortality rate and how well we‘re doing vis-à-vis to the rest of the world,“ McEnany told Fox News.
The administration‘s pushback came as American medical organizations urged the public to wear masks and physically distance as coronavirus cases spike.
“This is why as physicians, nurses, hospital and health system leaders, researchers and public health experts, we are urging the American public to take the simple steps we know will help stop the spread of the virus: wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and washing hands,” read a letter signed by the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association.
“We are not powerless in this public health crisis, and we can defeat it in the same way we defeated previous threats to public health — by allowing science and evidence to shape our decisions and inform our actions,” the organizations wrote.
Local officials in states with surging cases, meanwhile, scrambled to deal with the growing strain on hospitals.
In Florida‘s Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Monday signed an emergency order closing gyms, party venues and ballrooms, and allowing restaurants to operate only with takeout and delivery services.