Trump claims US topping world number of virus cases is 'badge of honour'

20 May 2020, 05:42

The President has faced criticism for his comments
The President has faced criticism for his comments. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

President Donald Trump has sparked criticism by claiming it is a "badge of honour" that the US had the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world.

The US had 1.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and almost 92,000 deaths, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.

"I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better," Mr Trump said.

On Monday, the President hosted his first Cabinet meeting since the outbreak in America began.

"By the way," he told the White House press pool, "you know when you say that we lead in cases, that's because we have more testing than anybody else."

"So when we have a lot of cases," he continued, "I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better."

He added: "So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it's a badge of honour.

"It's a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done."

According to the Centres for Disease Control, a US agency, the Government had carried out 12.6m coronavirus tests by Tuesday.

Democrats accuse him of caring more about himself and his press coverage than the crisis he is supposed to manage.

"It's a reminder in a crisis like this how much many of us yearn for an American, a leader of human values, of empathy," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday.

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The President went on to incorrectly claim that evidence suggested anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine - which we reported Mr Trump revealed yesterday he is taking - does not have negative side-effects.

“What has been determined is it doesn’t harm you,” Mr Trump said.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that the drug should only be used as a coronavirus treatment in hospital, due to possible "serious heart rhythm problems” in virus patients.

When a member of the press asked the President about the FDA guidance at the meeting, Mr Trump said: “That’s not what I was told.”