U.S. leads world in coronavirus cases, overtaking China and Italy

The United States on Thursday surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters tally, with more than 81,300 confirmed infections.

Reuters asked President Donald Trump about becoming the country with the most cases at Thursday evening's White House task force briefing.


"If I'm reading the numbers correctly, the United States now has surpassed China as the country with the highest number of virus cases. Does this surprise you at all? Is it following the predictable trajectory?"


"No, I think it's a tribute to our testing. You know? Number one, you don't know what the numbers are in China. China tells you numbers. And... I'm speaking to President Xi tonight, I believe. And we'll have a good conversation, I'm sure. But you just don't know. You know? What are the numbers? But I think it's a tribute to the testing. We're testing tremendous numbers of people. And I'm sure you're not able to tell what China is testing or not testing. I think that's a little hard."

Trump also discussed his new coronavirus guidelines that he sent to the nation's governors about getting the American people back to work.


"We have to get back to work. Our people wanna work. They wanna go back. They have to go back."

In a letter to the governors, Trump said state and local leaders could use the guidelines to determine appropriate social distancing and other coronavirus mitigation measures according to whether counties are - as he suggests - high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk.

The president has been pressing his case for a re-opening of the U.S. economy by mid-April despite a surge in coronavirus cases, suggesting at times that the response to the pandemic has been overblown, comparing the virus to the seasonal flu and automobile accidents.