In Brief

‘Chaos and confusion’ – Trump under fire as US records most coronavirus deaths in a day

President turns fire on World Health Organisation during ‘wild’ daily press briefing

The US has recorded the most coronavirus deaths in a single day with 1,736 fatalities reported yesterday.

That brings the total number of deaths in the country to 12,722. The US has more than 398,000 confirmed cases, the highest number in the world. According to the BBC, yesterday’s total could rise further with some states yet to share their data.

A significant proportion of the deaths announced were in New York state, which recorded 731 deaths yesterday. The state is now poised to overtake Italy with its number of confirmed cases.

Donald Trump is under fire for his early inaction on coronavirus after the New York Times revealed that his trade adviser warned in a memo in late January that the virus could put millions of Americans at risk and cost trillions of dollars. USA Today says Trump denies seeing the memo “until a couple of days ago”.

The Guardian says the US president thinks he has found a new “scapegoat” in the form of the World Health Organisation. “They called it wrong, they called it wrong,” he said of the WHO at the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing. “They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known and they should have known and they probably did know.”

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The WHO did in fact raise the alarm over the coronavirus in January, after which Trump kept downplaying the threat of the illness, comparing it to the common flu. “They’ve been wrong about a lot of things,” he continued. “And they had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to – they seemed to be very China centric.”

He also vowed to “put a hold on money spent to the WHO” but then, 16 minutes later, denied he had said this, claiming: “No I didn't. I said we're going to look at it.”

CNN described the president’s performance at the briefing as “wild” and said “the chaos and confusion rocking President Donald Trump's administration on the most tragic day yet of the coronavirus pandemic was exceptional even by his own standards”.

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