A paramedic dressed in personal protective equipment exits an ambulance at St. Petersburg General Hospital, where coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases are being treated, in St Petersburg, Florida, on Jul 15, 2020.
WASHINGTON: Florida reported more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday (Jul 19), the fifth day in a row the state has announced more than 10,000 new infections, even as President Donald Trump pledged that “it’s going to be under control.”
The virus has claimed more than 140,000 US lives total since the pandemic started, and Florida, California, Texas and other southern and western states shatter records every day.
Texas reported 7,300 new cases on Sunday after five straight days of new infections exceeding 10,000.
Despite record levels of new cases nationwide, the Trump administration is pushing for school to reopen in a few weeks and resisting a federal mandate to wear masks in public.
Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in an interview broadcast on Sunday, including his statement that there were only embers of the virus popping up around the country. The United States, with 3.7 million total cases, has almost as many infections as the next three hardest-hit countries combined – Brazil, India and Russia.
“We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame-like, but it’s – it’s going to be under control.”
Trump on “Fox News Sunday” repeated his assertion that the virus will eventually disappear.
“I’ll be right eventually,” he said. “It’s going to disappear and I’ll be right.”
Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that people were waiting up to a week to learn if they tested positive.
“The average test delay is too long,” said Collins. “That really undercuts the value of the testing.”
Instead of expanding testing, the Trump administration wants to block US$25 billion for states to conduct testing and contact tracing, according to reports in The Washington Post and the New York Times.
The White House declined on Sunday to comment to Reuters on those reports.
The number of COVID tests performed each day has doubled since late May but remains lower than recommended by some health experts. The United States set a record on Friday with more than 850,000 tests performed, according to data from the COVID-Tracking Project