The U.S. announced more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest daily total in weeks.
More than 20,000 members of the U.S. military have contracted the virus, and the infection rate has soared recently. Major security flaws were found in a South Korean quarantine app.
At least 1,120 coronavirus deaths were reported across the United States on Tuesday, the first time in July the single-day total had exceeded 1,000. With the exception of two days in late June when New Jersey and New York reported large numbers of deaths from unknown dates, Tuesday’s total was the highest since May 29, according to a New York Times database.
Related: Breaking: COVID-19 vaccine is now getting ready
Officials in Nevada, Oregon and Tennessee reported their highest single-day death figures yet.
Public health experts have warned for weeks that deaths would trail new cases by about a month and case counts have risen substantially since mid-June, when states began lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening businesses.
Tuesday’s total was far below the single-day record of 2,752, reported on April 15 during the peak of the outbreak in New York and the Northeast.
The seven-day average of deaths in the United States reached 786 on Monday, up from an average of about 475 in early July, though still far below the country’s April peak.
Trump says the virus will probably ‘get worse before it gets better.’
The U.S President Trump abruptly departed on Tuesday from his rosy projections about the coronavirus, warning Americans from the White House briefing lectern that the illness would get worse before widespread recovery.
“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” Mr. Trump said. “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”
In his first virus-focused televised news conference since late April, Mr. Trump appeared before reporters to defend his track record, which has been widely criticized for his tendency to downplay the severity of the pandemic. Appearing without Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, key members of his White House coronavirus task force, Mr. Trump also implored citizens — especially young people — to wear masks.
“Get a mask,” said Mr. Trump, who has been reluctant to wear them in public himself. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They will have an effect and we need everything we can get.”
Mr. Trump’s comment urging Americans to wear masks was a stunning departure from his past comments on wearing them. In recent weeks, he has disparaged masks as unsanitary and suggested that people who wore them were making a political statement against him.
Mr. Trump’s less dismissive comments about the pandemic reflected a dawning realization within his team that the virus not only is not going away but has badly damaged his standing with the public heading into the election in November. Approval of his handling of the pandemic has fallen from 51 percent in late March to 38 percent last week in polling by The Washington Post and ABC News.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee who now leads Mr. Trump by double digits, has assailed him in recent days for ignoring a devastating threat to the United States.
In an interview shortly before Mr. Trump’s news conference, Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said that he had not been invited to attend and defended himself against comments Mr. Trump had made in a Fox News interview Sunday, when he called him “little bit of an alarmist.”
“People have their opinion about my reaction to things,” Dr. Fauci said in the interview on CNN on Tuesday afternoon. “I consider myself more of a realist than an alarmist.”
At the White House, Mr. Trump detailed what he said was data that put the United States in a better position to defeat the virus than other countries dealing with the pandemic. At one point, he repeated the false claim that the United States has a lower fatality rate than “almost everywhere else in the world.” The country, according to a New York Times database, has the world’s 10th highest rate of reported deaths per 100,000 people.
Mr. Trump also claimed “no governor needs anything right now,” contradicting the public accounts of a few governors. Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon told PBS last night that “we need help with testing supplies and equipment” while Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland warned of testing shortages earlier on Tuesday.
Asked about a tweet he sent a day earlier, in which he declared mask-wearing as “patriotic,” Mr. Trump did not explain why he often declined to wear one in public.
“If you’re close to each other, if you’re in a group, I would put it on when I’m in a group,” Mr. Trump said. But he did not directly answer when asked why he had not worn a mask during a small group gathering at the Trump International Hotel in Washington the evening before, and appeared to toggle back and forth between his own feelings about mask-wearing as he spoke.
“I’m getting used to the mask and the reason is, think about patriotism. Maybe it helps,” Mr. Trump said.
But even as he acknowledged that the outbreak would worsen, the president continued to maintain, without evidence, that “the virus will disappear.”
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