We’ll be the comeback kid: Trump says peak in new virus cases is over

The US has come through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the country’s president Donald Trump.

Mr Trump said: “The data suggests that nationwide, we have passed the peak of new cases. Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress.”

He did not say what data he was relying on in making such an assessment.

Coronavirus: Infection numbers in real time

Coronavirus: Infection numbers in real time

But Dr Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator on the White House task force, said there were nine states with fewer than 1,000 cases each and fewer than 30 new cases daily.

More than 638,000 people in the US have been confirmed as having COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

It has killed almost 140,000 people worldwide and almost 31,000 in the US.

Mr Trump has made clear he is keen to re-open the US economy, as measures taken to limit the virus’s spread have taken a significant toll on employment and business activity.

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He said on Wednesday that the unspecified data had “put us in a strong position to finalise guidelines for states reopening”.

Adding that he would consult with state governors, Mr Trump said: “They’ll be safe, they’ll be strong, but we want to get our country back.

“We’ll be the comeback kid, all of us.”

Government data this week has shown that retail sales dropped by 8.7% in March – the biggest decline since records began in 1992, and that factory output showed the biggest decline since 1946.

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Meanwhile, state governors have started to talk about what post-virus life could look like, including that wearing face masks in public could become the new normal.

The governors of Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania issued orders or advice that residents wear face masks as their isolation ends in the coming weeks.

New Jersey, Los Angeles and Kansas had already issued similar orders or recommendations.

Coronavirus: Race for the vaccine

Coronavirus: Race for the vaccine

In Washington state, governor Jay Inslee has called for more testing to bridge the gap between lockdown and normal life.

He said: “We simply haven’t had enough test kits – they simply do not exist anywhere in the United States right now.”

Mr Trump has said the US had “the most expansive testing system anywhere in the world” but that testing is an issue for states and not federal government.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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