Trump cancels part of Republican convention in Florida due to coronavirus pandemic
While it took nearly 100 days for the United States to reach 1 million confirmed cases by the end of April, it took just 16 days for infections to drop from 3 million to 4 million, according to public health data. compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Cases have been increasing on average by more than 60,000 a day for almost two weeks now. That translates to about 2,600 per hour nationwide, the highest rate in the world.
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Coronavirus: Trump says cancellation of Florida part of GOP convention ‘sets an example’
Data shows that more than 144,000 Americans have now died from the virus to date. That number is expected to rise further on Thursday as other states report, although the day’s total already reaches 1,044 deaths by early evening.
Even as deaths increase in the United States for a second week in a row, they remain well below levels seen in April, when an average of 2,000 people per day died from the virus.
Outside experts as well as researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the actual number of cases and the number of deaths may be up to 10 times higher than official data shows, due to lack of testing during early stages of the pandemic.
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The surges came as states gradually reopened their economies after self-imposed lockdowns in May. Since then, the hotspots of the pandemic have moved from areas like New York to large parts of the south and west.
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Confusion persisted, however, over issues such as wearing masks to limit the spread of the virus, with some conservatives complaining against the measure, saying it went against the U.S. Constitution.
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US President Donald Trump, who previously refused to wear masks, has now urged Americans to wear them as much as possible and has started wearing a mask himself in public.
He has also started to try to sound less dismissive about the health crisis, admitting in his first briefing in months on Tuesday that the situation would “get worse before it gets better”.
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Still, he continued to criticize the mass tests – he called them “overrated” in a Fox News interview on Wednesday – and argued that the tests themselves are to blame for the high number of cases. Experts say widespread testing is in fact essential in determining the full extent of the pandemic and helping slow its spread.
Trump also continues to push for schools to reopen in the fall, insisting that children have stronger immune systems while ignoring the potential for them to spread the virus to adults, such as teachers.
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On Thursday, Trump admitted that hotspot states might need to delay reopening schools for a few weeks, but still said of schools: “They have to open.
A recent poll found that only one in 10 Americans want schools to reopen without any restrictions, while only three in 10 want in-person classroom learning to resume.
In Florida, the state teachers union has filed a lawsuit to end classroom instruction. Florida reported a record one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths on Thursday to 173.
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Florida’s health commissioner said earlier this month that schools must reopen, but Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has since said parents should be given the option to keep their children at home.
Trump administration officials have said a faster reopening is key to reviving the cratered economy, a central part of the president’s re-election campaign.
Trump has also said he will no longer hold part of the Republican Party’s nomination convention in Florida in August due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.
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“The timing for this event is not right,” Trump said at the White House briefing. “It’s not fair with what happened recently, the Florida outbreak. To have a great convention, now is not the right time. ”
Globally, the new coronavirus has already infected at least 15.4 million people and killed more than 630,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Behind the United States, the other five most infected countries are Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa.
– With files from Reuters
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