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On Monday morning the U.S. president kicked off his week by retweeting a post that “everyone is lying” about COVID-19, including the media, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even America’s doctors.
The facts, however, suggest it is the Trump administration that is lying: The pandemic is accelerating worldwide, and especially in the United States.
In total, 37 U.S. states are seeing infections rising, a fact that helped contribute to what the World Health Organization called the worst day for new coronavirus infections ever.
The global health watchdog said 230,370 new cases were recorded in 24 hours — a record daily increase. South East Asia, Europe, and Africa accounted for some 70,000 cases, but the Americas continue to make up the largest proportion, with over 140,000 cases on Sunday alone.
Around 5,285 new deaths were also reported — again, with the majority of them in the Americas.
Over the weekend, Florida set a one-day infection record of over 15,000 new cases; Minnesota reached its highest daily totals since May and parts of Texas are calling for the reintroduction of stay-at-home orders.
In the U.S., Florida continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday the Sunshine State reported a new daily record, and hospitals in the state have also hit a breaking point.
Indeed, if Florida were a country, it would have the world's fourth-highest tally of new COVID-19 cases for the 24-hour period, after the U.S. (66,281), Brazil (45,048), and India (28,637).
In Miami-Dade County, six hospitals have already reached capacity as virus cases spike, prompting Mayor Carlos Gimenez to roll back reopening plans. He has also imposed a curfew and closed restaurants for indoor dining.
It’s a similar story in Miami Beach, where Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN on Sunday, “We’re going to have to start moving regular beds into ICU beds. We’re clearly being strained at this point.”
Gelber added that almost 1,900 COVID-19 patients in Miami Beach have been hospitalized and a further 400 are in the county’s ICUs, half of them on ventilators.
The Florida mayor hit out at the lack of national leadership on the issue.
“There’s a total disconnect between what is happening and being said out of Washington and even Tallahassee and what is happening in some of these communities right here,” he said.
Part of the problem is the fact that experts like Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease experts, are being sidelined.
In fact, over the weekend the White House moved to actively undermine Fauci’s credibility by anonymously providing details to news outlets about statements the doctor had made early in the outbreak that they said were inaccurate.
Fauci has directly contradicted Trump’s assertion that the U.S. handling of the coronavirus crisis has been great. "As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great. I mean, we're just not," Fauci said in one interview.
Trump in turn has taken to attacking Fauci on social media and in television interviews, continuing to claim, falsely, that the U.S. is winning its battle against the virus.
But that’s simply not the case. While cases continue to climb in southern and western states, the Midwest is now experiencing the beginnings of a similar surge.
Every Midwestern state aside from Nebraska and South Dakota is experiencing a rise in cases, with Minnesota announcing its highest daily infection figures since May on both Saturday and Sunday.
Ohio, which was seeing a drop in positive tests, set a new record on Friday of 1,525 new cases, topping its previous single-day record set back in April.
And just like Florida and Texas a month ago, the rising cases in the Midwest are leading to partisan fights over whether lockdown restrictions should be reimposed.
Whether or not to impose mandatory mask-wearing is central to many of these arguments. The decision by Trump to finally appear in public wearing a mask over the weekend was seen as an admission of what public health experts, including Fauci, have been saying for months: that face coverings are an important part of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Cover: 12.07.2020 Parents of a patient suffering from coronavirus visit their daughter through a window at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, the United States. Stringer / Sputnik via AP