Trump: Having most coronavirus cases in the world is 'badge of honour'
US President says high infection rate is because it does 'more testing than anybody else'
WASHINGTON: As the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to rise, maintaining its status as the most infected country in the world, President Donald Trump described it as a badge of honour.
"I look at that as, in a certain respect, being a good thing because it means our testing is much better," he said at the White House.
On Monday, Mr Trump was hosting his first Cabinet meeting since the US outbreak began, reported the BBC.
"By the way," he said, "you know when you say that we lead in cases, that is because we have more testing than anybody else.
"So when we have a lot of cases, I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, being a good thing because it means our testing is much better."
He added: "So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it is a badge of honour.
"It is a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done."
The US recorded another 1,536 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University tracker said.
That figure, tallied as of yesterday morning (Singapore time), raises the number deaths in the US to 91,845.
The US tops the global rankings both for the highest death toll and the highest number of infections, with more than 1.5 million cases.
On Tuesday, a modelling average showed that coronavirus-related deaths among Americans are projected to surpass 113,000 by the middle of next month.
The projection compiled from nine models from separate institutions predicted roughly 22,000 more Americans would succumb to the disease over the next 25 days, AFP reported.
"The new forecast for cumulative US deaths by June 13 is about 113,000, with a 10 per cent chance of seeing fewer than about 107,000 and a 10 per cent chance of seeing more than 121,000," the Covid-19 Forecast Hub at the University of Massachusetts said on its website.
In a separate development, Mr Trump again lashed out at China yesterday, blaming Beijing for "mass worldwide killing".
The early morning tweet, which also referred to an unidentified "wacko in China", was the latest heated rhetoric from the White House, where Mr Trump is making attacks on Beijing a centrepiece of his November re-election bid, AFP reported.
"It was the 'incompetence of China', and nothing else, that did this mass worldwide killing," the President tweeted.
The virus first appeared in Wuhan last December and spread rapidly around the world.
The White House has also suggested, without offering evidence so far, that the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory and was accidentally released.