Donald Trump has bizarrely claimed the US is “rounding the turn” on the coronavirus pandemic, just hours after the country recorded a single-day record for new cases.
“We’re rounding the turn, with or without the vaccine, we have the vaccines – they’re going to be great – but with or without it we’re rounding the turn,” the president told supporters at a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday.
“Normal life, that’s all we want, fully resuming, we want normal life to fully resume, and that’s happening.”
Mr Trump’s false assertion came as the US reported 84,218 new cases due to outbreaks in virtually every part of the country, according to a tally by Reuters.
His claim the US already “have the vaccines” was also false. Although several candidate vaccines are in final-stage testing, none have yet received regulatory approval in the country.
The spike in cases comes less than two weeks before the presidential election on 3 November and is hitting battleground states such as Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Mr Trump has a near double-digit national polling deficit against Joe Biden, according to an average of 2020 presidential election polls, while the president is also losing in virtually every battleground state.
Health experts have not pinpointed the reason for the recent rise in Covid-19 cases, but have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside, fatigue with precautions and students returning to schools and colleges could promote the spread of the virus.
The US has the most confirmed cases in the world at 8.5 million and the most fatalities with 224,000 lives lost. The country has reported over the past week an average of 60,000 new cases per day, the highest seven-day average since early August.
Despite the dire numbers, Mr Trump on Friday again falsely suggested public health measures to try to slow the spread of the virus were part of a Democratic hoax to hurt his re-election chances.
“On November 4 they’ll say, ‘Everybody can open up’. They’re doing this to try and deflate the numbers,” Mr Trump baselessly claimed of state and local officials across the country.
Additional reporting by Reuters