President Donald Trump late Friday repeated his lie that the United States is on its way to defeating the coronavirus pandemic just before the country reported a single-day record of more than 85,000 new Covid-19 infections, nearly 10,000 more cases than were tallied at the height of the devastating surge in mid-July.
But the president's remarks during a campaign rally Friday at The Villages, a Florida retirement community, conveyed zero indication that the U.S. is entering what could be the worst phase of the pandemic yet.
"It's true that country is rounding the turn of the pandemic. We are spiraling out of control."
—Dr. Zoë McLaren,School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
"I mean, you look at what's going on and we're rounding the turn. We're rounding the corner. We're rounding the corner beautifully," Trump said, recycling an egregious falsehood that has become a staple of his stump speech even as infections and hospitalizations surge nationwide.
The New York Times reported late Friday that "since the start of October, the rise in cases has been steady and inexorable, with no plateau in sight... By that measure, Friday was the worst day of the pandemic, and health experts warned of a further surge as cold weather sets in. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has already risen 40 percent in the past month."
Consistent with his reckless downplaying of the pandemic from the very start, Trump once again peddled the lie that the U.S. is "rounding the turn" during a late Friday rally in Pensacola, one of many largely maskless and closely packed in-person campaign events the president has held in recent days against the warnings of public health officials.
Just hours after news broke that the US set a single-day record today for new coronavirus cases, Trump absurdly claims in Pensacola that the country is "rounding the turn" of the pandemic pic.twitter.com/fG0uXxluPu
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"It's true that country is rounding the turn of the pandemic," responded Dr. Zoë McLaren, associate professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "We are spiraling out of control."
In addition to the record number of cases, the U.S. also reported more than 940 coronavirus deaths on Friday, bringing the nation's death toll to nearly 224,000—the highest in the world.
"This is only getting worse," tweeted epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, warning that the U.S. could soon reach 100,000 new cases per day as the winter months approach.
With the November 3 election less than two weeks away, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted Friday that "Trump's lies and his rejection of science have cost us tens of thousands of lives."
"We need a new president," Sanders said.