President Donald Trump has said that as compared to big countries, America is doing "very well" in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, while India is having a "tremendous problem" battling the disease and China is witnessing a "massive flare up" in infections.
India's COVID-19 tally increased to 18,55,745 on Tuesday with 52,050 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day.
China on Tuesday reported 36 new cases across the country, down from 43 the previous day. The country's COVID-19 cases crossed the 100-mark on July 29, for the first time in over three months, sparking the fear of a rebound.
“I think we're doing very well. I think that we have done as well as any nation. If you really look, if you take a look at what's going on, especially now with all these flare ups and nations that they were talking about,” Trump told reporters at a news conference here on Monday.
As such, compared to larger countries, the US is doing much better in the fight against the coronavirus, he said.
“Don't forget, we're much bigger than--other than India and China. China is having a massive flare up right now. India has a tremendous problem. Other countries have problems,” he said in response to a question.
“And I noticed that in the news, in the evening news, I never read about that. In any news, I don't read about the other countries. You're starting to see that other countries are having very big flare ups, countries that thought they were over it, like we thought we might be over in Florida, and then all of a sudden it comes back. They do come back,” he said.
The US is the worst-hit country from the pandemic with over 4.7 million cases and more than 155,000 deaths.
The US, Trump said, has tested over 60 million people for coronavirus.
“No other country is even close to that. We've tested 60 million people -in many cases about 50 percent, now rapid fire, meaning five to 15 to 20-minute tests where you get the results almost immediately. Nobody has anything like that. Nobody. And I think we're just doing very well,” he said.
Trump said that the US is beginning to see evidence of significant progress. Nationwide, the number of positive cases has declined by nearly six percent from the week before, and the positive test rate has also dropped from 8.7 per cent to 8 per cent over that same period of time.
“Hotspots across the South and West; we have seen slow improvements from their recent weekly peaks,” he said, adding that Arizona's weekly case counts have dropped 37 per cent that is a tremendous drop and the governor and the state have done a fantastic job down 37 per cent, Texas down 18.7 per cent, and Florida 21.2 per cent drop.
“As we begin to contain the virus in these states, we must focus on new flare ups in the states where the case numbers have risen, including Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, and I think you will find that they are soon going to be very much under control,” he said.
Meanwhile, 18 states continue to have very low case numbers and low test positivity rates under five per cent, including New Jersey, New York, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts.
Even in these states, however, where the virus is under control and at a very low number, Americans should continue to be vigilant, be careful in order to prevent the new hotspots from opening up, he said.
“To that end, I urge all Americans to continue to socially distance, wash your hands, wear a mask when you cannot avoid crowded places and to protect the elderly very, very important, protect the elderly. It is much different....,” Trump said.
It is important for all Americans to recognise that a permanent lockdown is not a viable path towards producing the results that one wants or certainly not a viable path forward and would ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent, he said.
“As we are seeing in foreign countries around the world where cases are once again surging, you have many places where we thought they were under control doing a great job, and they are doing a great job, but this is a very tough invisible enemy. Lockdowns do not prevent infection in the future. They just don't. It comes back many times...,” he said.
The purpose of a lockdown is to buy time to build capacity in hospitals, learn more about the disease and develop effective treatments, he asserted.
“We are doing very well with the vaccines and the therapeutic. Countries, where there have been very significant flare ups over the last short period of time, are Spain, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, and also, as you probably heard in Hong Kong, they have had some very serious flare ups. Japan has gone a lot of--six-fold, six-fold flareup, that's a lot, but they will get it under control,” he said.
“In our current phase, we must focus on protecting those at highest risk while allowing younger and healthier Americans to resume work and school with careful precautions. Ideally, we want to open those schools. We want to open them.
"At the same time, we are placing an emphasis on continuing to drive down the mortality rate with improved care, treatment, and medical interventions building a bridge to the introduction of a vaccine. The vaccines are coming along incredibly well,” Trump said.