Trump sees 1.5m US virus cases as ‘badge of honour’ for testing

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WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump said it’s “a of ” that the United States has over 1.5 million Covid-19 – the highest number of infections globally – as coronavirus-related deaths among Americans are projected to surpass 113,000 by mid-June.

“I view it as a badge of honour, really, it’s a badge of honour,” Mr Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday. “It’s a great tribute to the and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.”

The US has recorded more than 1.5 million confirmed Covid-19 infections and more than 93,000 fatalities as of yesterday, but a projection compiled from nine models from separate institutions predicted roughly 20,000 more Americans would succumb to the disease over the next two dozen days.

“The new forecast for cumulative US deaths by June 13 is about 113,000, with a 10 per cent chance of seeing fewer than about 107,000 and a 10 per cent chance of seeing more than 121,000,” the Covid-19 Forecast Hub at the University of Massachusetts said on its website.

The specific ensemble forecast average is 113,364 deaths by that date.

The US has performed over 11.8 million coronavirus tests, according to the Covid Tracking Project, after the government experienced delays in getting tests developed and manufactured.

The country continues to face testing shortages and sets priorities for who gets one.

However, contrary to Mr Trump’s claim, American testing levels are not extraordinary. The US trails Britain, Italy and Germany in tests conducted per 1,000 people, Bloomberg data shows.

And it is finding a positive case for every 7.8 tests, compared with other countries like New Zealand, Australia and South Korea, which have to test far greater numbers of people to find a case, according to figures compiled by Our World In Data. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the US has conducted a reported 11.3 million tests, though Mr Trump said he believed the number was closer to 14 million.

“If you’re testing 14 million people, you’re going to find many more cases,” Mr Trump said. “Many of these people aren’t very sick but they still go down as a case, so, actually, the number of cases – and we’re also a much bigger country than most.

“So when we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better.”

TRIBUTE TO THE TESTING

I view it as a badge of honour, really, it’s a badge of honour. It’s a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.

U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP. The US has over 1.5 million Covid-19 cases – the highest number of infections globally.

INCOMPETENCE’ TO BLAME

It was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass worldwide killing.

MR TRUMP, lashing out again at China over the pandemic in an early-morning tweet yesterday.

Globally, the number of cases is accelerating, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, he said there were 106,000 new cases recorded worldwide over a 24-hour period as of late yesterday Singapore time – the most in a single day so far. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low-and middle-income countries,” he said.

Separately, Mr Trump again lashed out at China yesterday over the pandemic.

The early morning tweet, which also referred to a statement released by an unidentified “wacko in China”, was the latest heated rhetoric from the White House, where Mr Trump is making attacks on Beijing a centrepiece of his November re-election bid.

“It was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass worldwide killing,” the President tweeted.

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