With more than 8.7 million infections and over 226,000 deaths, the United States, the country most affected by the pandemic, is experiencing record numbers of daily covid-19 infections, raising concerns about the approaching Halloween and Thanksgiving festivities; while President Donald Trump is calling for a return to normalcy.

“Voters are going to judge me on a lot of things, and one of the things we’ve done really well is with the covid. We would have had millions of people dead if we hadn’t done what we did,” said Trump, who has gone from underestimating the virus to acknowledging its seriousness, from the White House before leaving for a campaign event in Michigan.

In recent days, the president has insisted, despite a spike in numbers in recent weeks, that the pandemic “is ending.

“The media only talk about Covid, Covid, Covid (…). We just want a normal life, right? And it’s happening, very quickly,” he said at an event in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Trump’s words contrast with the worrying reality in the United States, especially in rural areas, which are now the most affected by the upsurge in cases.

Last week, more than 70,000 new cases were reported daily and now the Midwest states like Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, and those located in the mountains of the West like North Dakota, are some of the most affected.

Precisely the governor of Illinois, Jay Robert Pritzker, indicated that “there seems to be a Covid storm on the way” when justifying new measures of restriction of activities.

THE VIRUS AS A POLITICAL WEAPON

The lack of coordination in management and the contradictory messages about the coronavirus in the U.S. have become a political weapon by the Democratic opposition as the country enters the last week of the electoral campaign leading up to the November 3 elections.

Democratic presidential hopeful, former Vice President Joe Biden, charged Trump Tuesday with his handling of the health care crisis. “He is the worst possible president to try to get us out of this pandemic. Either he doesn’t have a clue about what to do or he doesn’t care,” Biden criticized at an event in Georgia.

Likewise, former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), who is immersed in the electoral race in support of Biden, mocked Trump and remarked that he has turned the White House into a “hotbed” for the coronavirus.

Obama was referring to the contagion of the president himself, who had to be temporarily hospitalized in October, and other similar cases among some of his close advisors and the vice president, Mike Pence, whose chief of staff tested positive this weekend.

EXPERTS WARN

Unlike their boss, the message of the experts of the White House working group for covid-19 is loaded with alarms.

“There is a large under-reporting of cases, of young people with no symptoms who are still coming together, or even 40- or 50-year-olds who I have seen without a mask and without distancing themselves, even in closed spaces,” explained Dr. Deborah L. Birx, coordinator of the task force, on a visit to North Dakota.

Added to this is the concern about the arrival of the holiday season in the U.S. with Halloween this weekend and, above all, Thanksgiving, the great holiday in the country that brings families together for the traditional turkey dinner at the end of November.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended limiting the number of people at gatherings and trying to concentrate the gatherings in open spaces, something that will be difficult due to the drop in temperatures as the fall progresses.

The latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, in whose prediction models of pandemic evolution the White House often looks, estimate that the United States will reach 315,000 deaths by the end of the year and 385,000 deaths by February 1.

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