TULSA, Okla. -- President Donald Trump is suggesting the U.S. should slow down its coronavirus testing effort because robust testing turns up more cases of infection.
At a campaign rally in Oklahoma on Saturday, Trump told supporters the U.S. has tested 25 million people.
The “bad part,” Trump says, is that leads to logging more cases of people who test positive for COVID-19. He added: “So I said to my people slow the testing down, please."
According to an Associated Press analysis, the number of newly confirmed cases per day has risen from about 21,400 two weeks ago to 23,200.
Rising case numbers can partially be explained by the wider availability of testing.
The president also used his comeback rally to define the upcoming election as a stark choice between national heritage and left-wing radicalism.
But his intended show of political force amid a pandemic featured thousands of empty seats and new coronavirus cases on his own campaign staff.
Trump ignored health warnings to go through with his first rally in 110 days in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It was one of the largest indoor gatherings in the world during a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 120,000 Americans, put 40 million out of work and upended Trump’s reelection bid.
Oklahoma’s health department on Saturday reported 331 new virus cases to bring the total number of confirmed cases to 10,037, with 368 deaths due to COVID-19. The actual number is likely higher because many people have not been tested.
Tulsa County has both the most confirmed cases and virus-related deaths in Oklahoma. Trump’s rally is taking place at a 19,000-seat indoor arena in the city of Tulsa.
The vast majority of those in attendance bucked the guidance of health care experts and did not wear a mask, following the lead of a president who has insisted on not wearing a mask in public.
Trump applauded those in attendance as warriors. His campaign has planned for Trump to also speak at an outdoor venue before going inside the arena, but that event was canceled.
Trump told his supporters the choice in 2020 "is very simple: Do you want to bow before the left wing mob or do you want to stand up tall and proud as Americans?”