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He said without evidence that the coverage was a plot to “create fear” ahead of Election Day. Trump told a campaign rally later in North Carolina that “you won’t hear about it anymore” after the election.
But Trump falsely blamed the increase in cases on too many COVID-19 tests and ignored the fact that the U.S. leads the world in the number of COVID-19 deaths. With about 4% of the globe’s population, the U.S. has had almost 20% of all COVID-19 deaths in the world.
Trump inaccurately argued that the new surge “included many low risk people.” He also said falsely that the nation’s “mortality rate is DOWN 85% plus.”
A spike in deaths inevitably follows a surge in cases. Already, the rising rate of infections has resulted in a 40% hike in hospitalizations.
The Fake News is talking about CASES, CASES, CASES. This includes many low risk people. Media is doing everything possible to create fear prior to November 3rd. The Cases are up because TESTING is way up, by far the most, and best, in the world. Mortality rate is DOWN 85% plus!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2020
Trump also dismissed the surging numbers in his North Carolina speech. “COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it.”
"That's all I hear about now. Turn on TV, 'Covid, Covid, Covid Covid Covid.' A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it. 'Covid Covid Covid Covid.' By the way, on November 4th, you won't hear about it anymore ... 'please don't go and vote, Covid!'" -- Trump pic.twitter.com/1bh7x2RSTy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 24, 2020
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday suggested that officials consider a mask mandate to address the current surge.
“If people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN.
“If ... everybody pulls together and says, ‘You know, we’re going to mandate it,’ ... I think that would be a great idea,” he said.
Fauci also revealed to NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump hasn’t bothered to attend a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force for “several months.”
Trump does not encourage people to wear masks — or socially distance — and routinely flouts local regulations requiring such safety measures when he holds rallies with packed crowds of maskless supporters across the country.
Fauci has warned that the current jump in COVID-19 cases is particularly troubling as colder weather begins to drive more people indoors, where the virus is more easily spread.
Trump insisted in Thursday’s debate, “We’re rounding the corner” on COVID-19. “It’s going away,” he added.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.