October 26, 2020Reuters
by Andrea Shalal and Ernest Scheyder
BANGOR, Maine / WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – Donald Trump on Sunday claimed progress in the United States in the fight against the coronavirus, despite a record of new daily infections and cases in the entourage of Vice President Mike Pence, pushing Joe Biden to accuse the Republican president of having abdicated in the face of the health crisis.
Mike Pence held meetings on Sunday despite the announcement a few hours earlier of the contamination of his chief of staff, Marc Short, and several other members of his team.
Nine days before the presidential election, the White House described the Republican vice president as an “essential worker” to justify maintaining his campaign activities, including a trip to North Carolina.
The United States on Friday and Saturday recorded records for new daily cases of coronavirus contamination – around 84,000 and then nearly 80,000.
The health crisis, which has caused some 225,000 deaths in the country and put millions of Americans out of work, has emerged as the central theme of the election campaign.
A record number of Americans have voted in advance: more than 59 million ballots have already been transmitted, according to data recorded Sunday evening by the group Elections Project, based at the University of Florida.
Despite an outbreak of the epidemic in many states, Donald Trump said at a meeting in New Hampshire that “no country in the world has recovered as we have”.
“We are getting there, we are negotiating the turn, we have the vaccines, we have everything,” said the outgoing president in front of jubilant supporters, for the most part without a mask and not respecting the measures of physical distancing.
Several potential vaccines are in development in the United States, but none have been approved yet.
In an interview with CNN earlier today, the secretary general of the White House said: “We are not going to control the pandemic.” “We’re going to control having vaccines, treatments and other things that are going to mitigate it,” added Mark Meadows.
Reacting to the comments, Joe Biden said in a statement released by his campaign team that Mark Meadows “has surprisingly admitted that the administration has given up on controlling the pandemic, that it is abandoning its main mission of protecting the American people ”.
The positive cases reported in the entourage of Mike Pence follow a series of contaminations within the White House in recent weeks, firstly Donald Trump, his wife Melania and their son Barron.
Donald Trump, hospitalized for three nights earlier this month to receive treatment for COVID-19, has regularly minimized the dangerousness of the virus and ignored the recommendations of health experts on the wearing of masks and social distancing.
Mark Meadows told reporters that White House medics had cleared Mike Pence for his campaign trips.
Asked about the absence of compulsory masks for Donald Trump meetings, the Secretary General of the Presidency replied that the Trump campaign offered masks to spectators but that “we live in a free society”.
(with Lisa Shumaker, Susan Heavey, Steve Holland, John Whitesides and Trevor Hunnicutt; French version Patrick Vignal and Jean Terzian)
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