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U.S. COVID-19 Cases Surge as Trump Continues Unmasked Campaign Rallies

HeadlineOct 19, 2020

There are now over 40 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world. The U.S. has topped 8.1 million cases, remaining by far the most infected country, with around 20% of known cases globally. The U.S. death toll is nearing 220,000. On Friday, the U.S. reported around 70,000 new cases, the highest daily total since July. At least 12 states set single-day case records since Friday. Only two states — Vermont and Missouri — reported significant decreases in reported cases over the past week.

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” top White House Coronavirus Task Force scientist Anthony Fauci shared his reaction when he saw the Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on TV last month.

Dr. Jonathan LaPook: “Were you surprised that President Trump got sick?”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Absolutely not. I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask. When I saw that on TV, I said, 'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that. That's got to be a problem.’ And then, sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.”

At around the same time as Fauci’s interview aired Sunday, Trump spoke at a campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada, where he mocked Joe Biden, warning there would be more lockdowns if Biden is elected.

President Donald Trump: “If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression, instead of we’re like a rocketship.”

In response, the Biden campaign said in a statement, “Donald Trump tanked the strong economy he inherited … by continually discounting and attacking warnings from the scientific and medical experts working around the clock to save lives. Now new coronavirus cases are surging and layoffs are rising.” Joe Biden campaigned in the key battleground state of North Carolina this weekend, as running mate Senator Kamala Harris is back on the campaign trail and will appear today in Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida.

Trump also held rallies in two other coronavirus hot spots over the weekend — Michigan and Wisconsin — just as state officials reported record-high COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Trump’s top coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas — known for pushing a “herd immunity” strategy — tweeted this weekend, “Masks work? NO.” Twitter blocked the post for violating a policy on misleading information about COVID-19.

A federal judge struck down a Trump rule that would have thrown 700,000 people off food stamps, known as SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, amid the pandemic and record unemployment.

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