Continuing to ignore the advice of scientists and public health experts who’ve urged Americans to remain socially distanced as COVID-19 cases continue to surge nationwide, President Donald Trump hosted a crowded Independence Day celebration at the National Mall in Washington on Saturday night.
Trump, who did not wear a mask despite evidence that facial coverings can help to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, blamed China and its “secrecy, deceptions and cover-up” for the global spread of COVID-19.
China must be held “fully accountable,” he said, adding without evidence that the U.S. would have a treatment or a vaccine for the virus “long before the end of the year.”
Trump added that the U.S. has tested nearly 40 million people for COVID-19. This effort shows that “99% ... are totally harmless,” he claimed without evidence.
The U.S. reported more than 2.8 million coronavirus cases and almost 130,000 deaths to date. That’s a fatality rate of about 4%.
People actually applaud after Trump mentions that "we got hit by the virus that came from China" pic.twitter.com/uXhSwsd4Ke
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 4, 2020
Tens of thousands of people were expected to attend the Washington event. Few appeared to be wearing masks.
Trump administration officials said they’d give out 300,000 face coverings to attendees of the celebration. The Associated Press reported, however, that there was no indication that masks or social distancing was mandatory.
The large gathering came as global cases of the coronavirus surpassed 11 million and as a majority of U.S. states grappled with a surge in infections.
Leading members of Trump’s own coronavirus task force urged Americans to avoid crowds over the holiday weekend.
“You should avoid whenever possible gathering in crowds where people cannot maintain physical distance,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said earlier this week. “Avoid crowds, wear a mask, keep...