Speed Reads

Coronavirus quotables

Trump says U.S. coronavirus 'death totals' per million people 'are really very, very strong'

South Korea, Hong Kong, New Zealand, even Vietnam have largely snuffed out new cases of COVID-19 in their countries. The number of new cases may have peaked for now in the U.S., but death and infection numbers keep rising — 1.07 million cases, 63,000 deaths as of late Thursday — and new outbreaks keep popping up.

Still, President Trump's White House adviser and son in law, Jared Kushner, declared victory on Wednesday. "We're on the other side of the medical aspect of this, and I think we've achieved all the different milestones that are needed," he told Fox & Friends. "So the federal government rose to the challenge and this is a great success story." Trump also patted his administration on the back during a White House event on aiding seniors during the pandemic: "Our death totals, our numbers per million people, are really very, very strong. We're very proud of the job we've done."

It's hard to quantify "really very, very strong," but the U.S. has the highest number of total reported deaths in the world and is middling at best in terms of deaths per million people.

"We've been hearing similar rhetoric from the White House for a while," Philip Bump writes at The Washington Post. But "the back of the mountain doesn't look the way the front did. We saw a steady, exponential rise in confirmed cases and deaths each day for several weeks. But particularly with daily case totals, the period after the peak nationally has looked more like a plateau than a downward slide."

There's method to moving to the recovery phase, at least rhetorically. "When it comes to rebuilding the economy and getting people back to work, the president has significant advantages over Joe Biden right now," one adviser to the Trump campaign tells Politico. "If there's a sense we've recovered from this, and there's a sense the economy's getting better, he'll be okay."