President Donald Trump finally acknowledged on Thursday that US Covid-19 toll had surpassed 100,000, calling it a “sad milestone” almost 20 hours late, and promptly proceeded to blame it on China, saying the coronavirus behind it was a “very bad gift from China”.
Trump had been noticeably quiet on the toll as he tweeted and retweeted about an upcoming executive order on social media, about his political rivals, ongoing legal case involving his first national security adviser Michael Flynn, and his predecessor President Barack Obama.
“We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,” he wrote in a tweet Thursday, hours after the Johns Hopkins University tracker marked the crossing.
In a tweet minutes after, the president wrote, “All over the World the CoronaVirus, a very bad “gift” from China, marches on. Not good!”
President Trump and his Republican allies have sought to shift all of the blame for the epidemic including the devastation caused in the United States by this administration’s delayed and botched response, on China, where the first infections occurred last December. Approval ratings of the president’s handling of the crisis have been declining steadily.
The toll had risen to 100,467 by Thursday morning (much earlier, according to some trackers), with 1,505 deaths in the last 24 hours, marking a return to four-digit toll after days. Infections rose by 18,263 to reach 1.7 million. The United State accounts for around a third of both the infections and fatalities worldwide.
The epidemic has continued to take a heavy toll on the US economy with 2.1 million more American filings for unemployment benefits, according to new data released by the US department of labor. The total of jobs lost due to the Covid-19 lockdown is now up to 41 million.