WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the week since he emerged from coronavirus isolation, President Donald Trump has demonstrated new determination to minimize the threat of the virus that has killed more than 215,000 Americans and complicated his chances of winning another four years in the White House.
In word and action, Trump is pushing an optimistic outlook even as coronavirus infections are spiking in Europe and public health officials are raising alarm that the infection rate in the U.S. is climbing toward a new peak.
On Friday the president told supporters at an event in Fort Myers, Florida that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.
In the past week he has spread misinformation about the virus, undercut the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and kept up his practice of shunning mask use. The effort to diminish the virus has gone into overdrive as Democrats try to frame the race for the White House as a referendum on Trump’s handling of the worst U.S. public health crisis in over a century.
The U.S. economy is still roughly 11 million jobs short of recovering all 22 million jobs that were lost when the pandemic struck in early spring. The nation averaged more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases per day over the past week. National and battleground public opinion polls suggest that Trump faces stiff headwinds in his bid for a second term.
At his NBC News town hall on Thursday night, Trump was asked whether he should have known better than to announce his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court with a Rose Garden ceremony and indoor reception where few guests wore masks and social distancing was nonexistent.
He responded by incorrectly citing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study to falsely suggest that mask wearing doesn’t mitigate the spread of the virus. The study did not say that.
Trump also has been guarded in releasing information about his health and wouldn’t say whether he had tested negative on the day of his first debate with Democrat Joe Biden, two days prior to his positive diagnosis, allowing only, “Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t.”
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Ski resorts in the U.S. adapt to a new normal during pandemic.
— Britain’s Space Agency is backing a medical drone delivery service that aims to move virus samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals.
— A spike in cases in Europe deals a bitter blow to the economy.
— Rural parts of the American Midwest are seeing a surge in cases and hospitals are struggling to keep up.
— In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “difficult months” ahead as the nation posted another daily record of new cases Saturday.
— Iran announces its virus death toll has reached 30,000.
— The Dutch royal couple has cut short a Greek vacation after an uproar back home.
— AP PHOTOS: India holds digital fashion week amid