WHITE HOUSE - As the country continues to set daily records for new COVID-19 infections, U.S. President Donald Trump is again praising his administration’s response to the pandemic, taking credit for saving “millions of lives.”
“In many cases, we’ve done an incredible job,” Trump said.
More than 50,000 new coronavirus infections were reported in the country on Wednesday, the highest total since the start of the pandemic. Six states set daily records for new cases: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.
“They flare up, and we’re putting out the fires,” the president said of the coronavirus “temporary hot spots,” during comments Thursday morning to White House reporters primarily touting positive news about Americans returning to jobs in record numbers.
“It’s got a life, and we’re putting out that life because it’s a bad life that we’re talking about,” Trump said of the viral disease that has swept the world this year.
“The crisis is being handled,” according to the president, amid criticism his administration prematurely encouraged states to reopen their economies.
“I think some places may have been overexuberant” in reopening, Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, acknowledged after Trump left the podium.
White House officials stress the rapidly rising coronavirus case numbers are due, in large part, to enhanced testing, and note that the percentage of patients dying from the disease continues to decline.
The record number of new infections in the United States is accompanied by a new high for current hospitalizations in eight states, which has created a crisis for some medical facilities that are reporting they are near capacity.
“The president is so eager to declare victory and pat himself on the back that he’s ignoring reality completely,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, asserting that the record number of new coronavirus cases “is more important” than the latest jobs numbers.
California’s increasing rate of infections prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to revive the sweeping restrictions imposed statewide at the start of the outbreak -— shutting bars and theaters, and halting indoor dining in 19 counties.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has put on hold plans to reopen indoor dining rooms because of a possibility of infected people from elsewhere flocking into the city. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statewide order Wednesday mandating that everyone wear face masks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a U.S. Senate committee this week that the current rate of new infections could more than double to 100,000 a day if the current surge is not contained.
The United States has recorded nearly 2.7 million cases of COVID-19 infections. More than 128,000 deaths are attributed to the viral disease.