US, Europe coronavirus cases soar, but Trump defiant days before vote

The United States saw a record number of new coronavirus infections for the second day running Friday, with more than 94,000 cases reported just days before voters decide if President Donald Trump should remain in the White House.

The skyrocketing caseload helped push the US tally past nine million cases reported since the pandemic began, while Europe topped 10 million and France entered a new lockdown.

The increasingly resurgent pandemic is forcing other countries to consider following suit — but Trump has vowed the US will not be among them if he wins a second term on Tuesday.

The US set a daily record for new infections Friday, charting more than 94,000 in 24 hours according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University — just one day after the previous high of 91,000.

Hospitals across the country were bracing as cases soar in nearly every state and winter flu season looms.

But on the campaign trail Trump, who says the virus will “disappear,” remained defiant.

“We just want normal,” he told supporters — many of them unmasked — at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life.

He again bucked his own administration’s health experts and dismissed the more than 229,000 Americans who have already died of Covid-19 as he downplayed the threat, saying “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.”

Biden, who has sought to turn the November 3 election into a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, has accused his Republican rival of surrendering to the virus.

“It is as severe an indictment of a president’s record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying,” he said in a statement Friday.

Virus fears have also hit Wall Street, which suffered its worst week and month since March on Friday with another losing session as markets gird for the election. (Sarah TITTERTON with AFP bureaus)