As America’s death toll from Covid-19 crossed 200,000, President Donald Trump called the alarming milestone “a shame” even as he deflected the blame for the coronavirus pandemic on China.
“I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right, you’d have 2.5 million deaths,” the US president told reporters, defending his administration’s handling of the health crisis. The world’s most powerful nation hit the figure 41 days before a presidential election, and as the World Health Organization warned that new cases worldwide have risen to record highs.
Trump used a video address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to attack Beijing for not stopping the spread of what he called the “China virus”. He has repeatedly played down the seriousness of the crisis, even as the United States suffered one of the world’s highest death tolls.
According to a tally run by the US-based Johns Hopkins University, more than 31.6 million people have been infected worldwide and nearly 972,000 have died from Covid-19 since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
Across the Atlantic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a fervent appeal to the public, urging them to diligently follow the new curbs or face the prospect of yet another lockdown.
He sent out the message in a special broadcast of Tuesday evening, hours after outlining a new set of restrictions.
He said, “(Unless) we take action, the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later… If we let this virus get out of control now, it would mean that our NHS had no space – once again – to deal with cancer patients and millions of other non-Covid medical needs.
“And if we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods, but the loving human contact on which we all depend… We must do all we can to avoid going down that road again. But if people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further.”