(CNN)The US has hit a grim new milestone: We’re now averaging more new coronavirus cases per day than at any point in the pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of numbers provided by Johns Hopkins University.
Despite that, Vice President Mike Pence declared in the first public coronavirus task force meeting in nearly two months that “We can still take some comfort in the fact that fatalities are declining all across the country.” That’s cherry-picking a small piece of the full picture, because the nation is also seeing increases in hospitalization and positivity rates.
Despite Pence and President Donald Trump’s stated lack of interest in doing more testing (and no, Trump wasn’t kidding about that), testing is the only real tool officials have to assess just how widespread the current pandemic actually is.
That’s part of the reason why Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday that the administration is looking into a new testing strategy.
“Something’s not working,” Fauci said of the current approach. “I mean, you can do all the diagramming you want, but something is not working.”
Coronavirus cases continue to surge in new hotspots around the country, including record spikes in Texas, California and Oklahoma. In Texas, its governor has shifted from reopening the state to now containing the virus.
Yet Trump is instead turning much of his attention to the culture war around statues — even going as far as teasing an executive order that would have US Marshals protect monuments from being torn down.
During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Trump instead tweeted images of 15 people suspected of vandalizing a statue of Andrew Jackson earlier this week in Lafayette Square outside the White House.
Public opinion has moved in favor of taking down Confederate statues. Now 52% of Americans support removing Confederate monuments, according to recent polling from Quinnipiac University. But Trump’s response plays well with his base. Among Republicans, 80% oppose removing them.
That partisan divide is playing out in other parts of American life, naturally, including the coronavirus pandemic.
Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 61% think the worst of the coronavirus is behind us, according to a new Pew poll. Compare that to the 76% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who think the worst of the pandemic is still to come.
The Point: Americans may be split on the pandemic, but the data doesn’t lie. Things are getting worse.