Donald Trump appears to have admitted that coronavirus is “running wild” across the US, in contrast with his statements throughout the election campaign that the country was “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.
As new Covid infections in the US approached 200,000 a day, Trump took to Twitter on Saturday night to insist things were bad outside the United States as well: “The Fake News is not talking about the fact that ‘Covid’ is running wild all over the World, not just in the U.S.”
On Friday the US recorded 195,500 new cases, a global and US record, according to Johns Hopkins University data. On Saturday the country passed 12m cases, by far the largest total in the world.
During the election campaign, Trump repeatedly asserted that the US was “rounding the turn” on coronavirus and that the country would hear less about the pandemic after 4 November.
In his tweets late on Saturday, he insisted the “fake news” forgets to mention that “far fewer people are dying when they get Covid”.
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday that it had issued an emergency use authorisation for the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ antibody therapy that was given to the president when he had Covid-19 in October. It comes as daily deaths in the US were approaching the figures seen during the first months of the pandemic. On Thursday more than 2,000 Americans died from Covid, the highest figure since May.
Trump said at the virtual G20 summit early on Saturday, that the “biggest subject was Covid. We will be healing fast, especially with our vaccines!”.
Trump also implied to the G20 leaders that he would be working with them in the future.
“I look forward to working with you again for a long time,” he told leaders, according to audio obtained by the Observer.
Ahead of the summit, the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres called on G20 to join COVAX, an international initiative to distribute Covid-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. The United States has declined to join under Trump.
Instead, it, and other countries like the Britain, France and Germany, which are all G20 nations, have directly negotiated deals with pharmaceutical companies to receive billions of doses, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply next year is already reserved.
Moderna told the Germany weekly Welt am Sonntag that it will charge governments between $25 and $37 per dose of its Covid vaccine candidate, depending on the amount ordered.
“Our vaccine therefore costs about the same as a flu shot, which is between $10 and $50,” chief executive Stephane Bancel was quoted as saying.
Back in the US, millions were expected to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, ignoring warnings about the spread of the virus.
More than a million people flew through airports on Friday, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration. It was the second-heaviest domestic air traffic day since the start of the pandemic.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning on Saturday for all people to avoid cruise ship travel because the risk of Covid-19 onboard is very high.
Last month, the agency issued a framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship operations after a no-sail order issued in March in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic was to expire.