Trump Resurrects False Testing Claim As Daily Covid Cases Hit New High

Written by on October 25, 2020

After the U.S. reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases on Friday, President Trump resumed pushing an incorrect claim he previously touted during the last surge of the virus in July: that increased testing fully accounts for the rise in cases and that the spike in cases is overblown.

At an event in Lumberton, North Carolina on Saturday, Trump repeated his common refrain that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic – which he has said 37 of the last 55 days – adding “our numbers are incredible,” after the country reported over 85,000 new cases on Friday.

Trump complained about media coverage of the virus, arguing that “all you hear about” on television news is “covid, covid, covid” and that, if a plane crash killed 500 people (just over half the 925 U.S. covid deaths reported Friday) it would get no coverage.

But Trump also took aim at the media’s focus on rising cases, arguing “we show more cases because we test” even after NBC News reported earlier this month several states saw a rise in cases amid a simultaneous drop in testing.

Trump mused about cutting the amount of  testing by half – believing it would cut case numbers in half – to evoke favorable headlines on the virus, even though U.S. coronavirus deaths rose by 8% over the last 14 days and hospitalizations rose by 40%, according to the New York Times.

Trump said while testing is good in many ways, “in many ways it’s foolish” because it increases case numbers, though his own infectious disease chief, Dr. Anthony Fauci, argued earlier this month “we need to flood the system with testing.”

Trump also claimed, incorrectly, that most countries only test when people show severe symptoms and thus the U.S. turns up far more benign positive tests, but the U.S. has a higher case fatality rate than dozens of other countries, according to Johns Hopkins University.


Trump frequently made the claim that increased testing accounts for case increases in June and July as U.S. cases skyrocketed, even claiming in June he told his aides to slow down testing in order to reduce case numbers. The Trump administration even took steps to roll back federal testing sites as cases continued to spike. When asked by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan where he got his information on testing, Trump said to “read the manuals” and “read the books.”


“Yesterday we saw the highest number of new cases in one day since this pandemic began… Experts say we’ll lose nearly another 200,000 lives nationwide in the next few months,” Democratic candidate Joe Biden said at an event in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on Saturday, arguing that Trump “refuses to follow science.” Biden pledged to beat the pandemic by “bringing the country together around testing, tracing, and masking.”


Trump’s behavior towards the risk posed by the virus reflects his belief that coverage of it has been overblown. In addition to once again musing about “kissing” attendees at his crowded, tightly-packed rally after recovering from his coronavirus infection, Trump mocked Biden for having a “tiny little crowd” at his Pennsylvania drive-in rally. “I don’t like the idea of all this distance,” Biden said at that event. “But it’s necessary. We don’t want to become superspreaders.”


44%. That’s the share of likely voters in an Ipsos poll released Friday who said Biden would better handle coronavirus, compared to 35% who said Trump. 29% of voters said a “robust Covid-19 recover plan” is the most important factor in their vote, ahead of 22% who said the economy and job creation, 17% who said restoring trust in the government and 10% who said health care.

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