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Trump complains of focus on COVID-19 as Election Day draws near

President Donald Trump smiles at a crowd of supporters as he arrived at a campaign event Sunday in Londonderry, N.H.
President Donald Trump smiles at a crowd of supporters as he arrived at a campaign event Sunday in Londonderry, N.H.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

After a weekend that saw a record-breaking number of new daily coronavirus cases, President Trump falsely claimed on Twitter Monday morning that the latest spike was the result of a “fake news media conspiracy,” and complained about the media’s attention to the pandemic as Election Day draws near.

Trump again repeated his misleading claim that cases were up because testing was up. Testing has increased in the months since there were shortages at the start of the pandemic, but that does not fully explain the rise in cases, experts say. Testing also does not account for increased hospitalizations and deaths; both metrics have been climbing in recent weeks.

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New daily cases surpassed 80,000 on Friday and again Saturday, marking a new all-time high. The previous record for most cases reported in the United States on a single day had been 77,362, on July 16. And last week, hospitalizations surpassed 40,000 for the first time since August, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Daily deaths, a lagging indicator, also are rising.

As of Sunday, there were more than 8.6 million confirmed infections in the US, with deaths climbing to over 225,000, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

At least seven states — Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oklahoma — saw record high infection levels Saturday. And some Northeastern states hit hard in the spring are seeing numbers bounce back: New Jersey’s toll of 1,909 new infections Saturday was the most in a day since early May.

The virus also is surging in the Mountain West, especially Idaho and Utah.

Trump also suggested in a tweet Monday that the media’s coverage of the crisis should be an “election law violation.”

Trump has repeatedly claimed in recent weeks that the virus will “go away" and the US is “rounding the corner,” a characterization that defies reality.

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Speaking to MSNBC last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the lead members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said he was “concerned” about the rise in cases and said the level of community spread was “a precarious place to be.” He urged Americans to make a renewed effort to follow public health guidelines.

“We’re talking about doubling down on some of the fundamental public health measures that we need to adhere to: The universal wearing of masks, the physical distancing, the avoiding congregate settings and crowds, particularly indoor, doing things to the extent possible outdoor more than indoor," Fauci said.

Despite the new surge in infections, Trump is continuing to hold large rallies that attract thousands of mostly maskless supporters, including in New Hampshire over the weekend, where he again told the crowd that the rise in cases was because of testing.

“You know, they keep talking about cases, you know why we have cases so much, because that’s all we do is test,” he said on Sunday in Londonderry.

Trump’s running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, also is pressing ahead with his schedule of in-person events, despite several of his aides testing positive for the virus.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.