US coronavirus cases soar by record global high as Donald Trump hails country’s testing
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Coronavirus cases in the United States have soared by a record global level, which President Donald Trump attributed to “massive” testing abilities.
A surge in cases over the last week has put Mr Trump’s handling of the crisis under the microscope and led several governors to halt plans to reopen their states after strict lockdowns.
On Thursday, the number of reported cases rose by more than 555,274, topping the previous single-day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19.
“There is a rise in coronavirus cases because our testing is so massive and so god, far bigger and better than any other country,” Mr Trump said in a tweet late on Thursday.
“This is great news, but even better news is that death, and the death rate, is down,” he said.
The wave of new cases has prompted several governors to backtrack on plans to reopen their states after months of strict lockdowns, closing beaches and cancelling fireworks displays over the upcoming Independence Day weekend.
The United States has now recorded nearly 129,000 deaths from the outbreak, nearly a quarter of the known global total.
But the president appears to have shifted his stance on wearing a face covering in public, saying in an interview that he is “all for masks”. He made the comments as he suggested coronavirus will “just disappear”.
He told Fox Business: “I’m all for masks. I think masks are good – people have seen me wearing one. If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely.”
A large mask hangs on a lion statue outside New York Public Library (REUTERS)
It comes as former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is being treated in hospital for “serious” Covid-19 symptoms after attending a rally in support of Mr Trump, according to a statement posted on Mr Cain’s Twitter account.
It was not immediately clear when or where the 74-year-old, who rose to the top of the polls briefly during the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, was infected.
A man wears a mask as he cycles on Santa Monica beach (Getty Images)
However, he was taken to a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, less than two weeks after he attended a campaign rally for Mr Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The president’s campaign team said he did not meet Mr Cain there.
The statement said Mr Cain was taken to hospital after developing “serious” symptoms but is “awake and alert”.
“I realise people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of travelling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking,” Dan Calabrese, who has been editor of HermanCain.com, wrote on the website.
“I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected. We’ll never know.”
Across the world, more than 10.89 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus and 520,066 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
The United States alone has recorded about 2.76 million cases.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China late last year.