US tops world with 1.5 million COVID-19 cases, Donald Trump says it is an 'honour'

Updated: May 21, 2020, 07:55 IST | Agencies | Washington

"So when we have a lot of cases... I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better."

The novel Coronavirus has also claimed nearly 92,000 lives in the US, also the world’s highest. File pic/AFP
The novel Coronavirus has also claimed nearly 92,000 lives in the US, also the world’s highest. File pic/AFP

President Donald Trump has said it is a "badge of honour" for America to "lead" the world with 1.5 million confirmed Coronavirus cases since it means the US is testing more people for the disease that has killed over 300,000 people across the world. The US has 1.5 million confirmed cases and over 91,000 deaths, both the world's highest.

"By the way," he told reporters on Tuesday, "you know when you say that we lead in cases, that's because we have more testing than anybody else." "So when we have a lot of cases... I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better."

'Badge of honour'
He said, "So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it's a badge of honour." "It's a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done," the president said. According to the Centres for Disease Control, the US had conducted 12.6 million tests by Tuesday.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The Democratic National Committee has criticised the president's comments, tweeting that the 1.5 million COVID-19 cases in the US represented "a complete failure of leadership". Trump is seeking reelection in the November presidential poll.

Pro-Trump docs' recruitment
Meanwhile, Republican political operatives are recruiting "extremely pro-Trump" doctors to go on TV to prescribe reviving the US economy as quickly as possible, without waiting to meet safety benchmarks proposed by the CDC to slow the COVID-19 spread.

The plan was discussed in a May 11 conference call with a senior staffer for the Trump re-election campaign organised by CNP Action, an affiliate of the GOP-aligned Council for National Policy. A leaked recording of the hour-long call was provided to The AP by the Centre for Media and Democracy, a progressive watchdog group. Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director, confirmed to AP that an effort to recruit doctors to publicly support the president is underway, but declined to say when the initiative would be rolled out. "Anybody who joins one of our coalitions is vetted," Murtaugh said on Monday.

States 'fudging testing data'

Public health officials in some states are accused of bungling COVID-19 case statistics. In Virginia, Texas and Vermont, officials are combining the results of viral tests with antibody tests, which "doesn't give a true picture of how the virus is spreading". In Florida, Rebekah Jones, the data scientist who developed the state's COVID-19 dashboard, said this week she was fired for refusing to manipulate data "to drum up support for the plan to reopen."

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