President Trump on Monday pointed to recent increases in coronavirus cases in Europe to argue that countries there have not actually succeeded at controlling the pathogen, relative to the United States.
“Big spike in the China Plague in Europe and other places that the Fake News used to hold up as examples of places that are doing well, in order to make the U.S look bad,” Trump tweeted. “Be strong and vigilant, it will run its course. Vaccines and cures are coming fast!”
Much of Europe managed to return to a new normal last summer after implementing stringent restrictions early in the crisis, unlike the United States. But cases have recently spiked in some parts of Europe that had managed to largely control their outbreaks. Several countries are imposing new restrictions but are generally avoiding the widespread lockdowns that some hot spots used to bring down their case counts last spring.
In France, officials imposed bar and gym closures last week to try to slow a recent spike in cases. France recorded more than 26,000 cases in 24 hours this weekend — its highest daily increase.
On Monday, a National Health Service official said more people in England are now hospitalized with the virus than in March. Spain imposed a partial lockdown in Madrid amid a rise in infections. And cases in Belgium are rising by roughly 4,000 per day.
Additionally, while Trump said vaccines and cures are expected soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects most people will not have access to a vaccine until late spring or summer of next year. The White House recently approved tough new standards that are meant to boost trust in a potential vaccine but are expected to slow the development process.
Trump also has been erroneously referring to a promising but unproven antibody cocktail made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as a “cure.” Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron’s co-founder and chief executive, told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that his company does not have nearly enough of the drug and would “have to figure out ways to ration this.”