Donald Trump continued to assure Americans living under stay-at-home orders that the US economy will soon see a "big bounce" — despite an unprecedented number of families now seeking emergency relief from food banks across the country and record unemployment claims this week.
More Americans have died of coronavirus this week than in the entire Iraq War, which claimed the lives of more than 4,500 US troops between 2003 and 2011. Mr Trump, frequently describing himself as a "war-time president," now is faced with a daily death toll that has eclipsed that of both world wars.
The president has meanwhile come under fire for his latest attack ad linking Democratic rival Joe Biden to China, the short promo mistakenly identifying Asian-American former Washington governor Gary Locke as a Chinese dignitary.
Mr Trump also stirred controversy at a press briefing on Friday, saying the "cherished" African-American communities nationwide have been "hard hit" by the virus, as health officials noted efforts to "flatten the curve" and keep the country's hospital systems within capacity were working.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams faced criticism for calling out to people of colour to "step up" to stop coronavirus, saying "do it for your big momma" and suggesting personal behaviours and not overwhelming systemic and institutional issues have made those communities more vulnerable to the disease.
He said his comments were "not meant to be offensive" and said "it's not just about what you do, but you also are not helpless."
Rather than 100,000 to 240,000 deaths, the US could see 60,000 due to the pandemic, the president said on Friday.
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