During President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday night, he said he wanted his administration to "slow the testing down" during the coronavirus pandemic. He also referred to the coronavirus as the "Kung Flu" and called on schools to re-open in the fall. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have attributed the recent rise of coronavirus cases to the increase in testing.
Trump once again blamed China for the virus' spread. "COVID. To be specific, COVID-19. That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus," Trump said. "We — I — did a phenomenal job with it." Trump then called the case numbers a "double-edged sword." He theorized that a doctor could claim a 10-year-old with "sniffles" was a case.
Here’s the clip of the President admitting that he ordered the US government to slow down testing for Covid. pic.twitter.com/dzQDh5s6oT— Hans Appen (@hansappen) June 21, 2020
While more testing does result in more cases being uncovered, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump's coronavirus task force, told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week the higher percentages of positive tests in several states "cannot be explained by increased testing." Murray Côté, an associate professor of health policy and management at Texas A&M, explained to TIME that if the increase in cases was only due to testing "we wouldn’t see the rates that we see... and the rates and indicative of the relation" of social distancing guidelines.
A White House official told The Wall Street Journal Trump was "clearly" joking about asking his administration to slow testing. "He's never advised staff to slow testing," the official said. "We are extremely proud of the 25 million tests we are conducting at a rapid pace."
During his speech Saturday night, Trump referred to the coronavirus as the "Kung flu." This was quickly slammed by Democrats on Twitter. The Democratic National Committee noted Trump "just completed the racism trifecta in a three-minute span," referring to his use of "tough hombres" and his support in preserving Confederate "heritage." In the past, White House Senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway called the term "highly offensive."
“It’s a disease without question. I can name 19 different versions of names. Many call it a virus, which it is. Many call it a flu. What's the difference?” Trump said Saturday.
More than 26.5 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus as of Saturday night, reports Johns Hopkins University. Over 2.25 million Americans have tested positive and just over 119,700 people have died. Over 617,000 Americans have recovered from COVID-19.