‘We win’: Trump appears to claim victory over coronavirus as US death toll jumps 129 in one day

President praises Deborah Birx as best infectious disease expert as popular Anthony Fauci looks on in White House briefing room

Donald Trump, in sharp defiance of his public health team, declared victory on Tuesday over the coronavirus even as the number of confirmed US cases and deaths continue to rise.

His administration’s goal is to “ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy,” the president said. “It’s been going a while time, but we win. We win.”

He has targeted Easter, 12 April, as his date for declaring the United States “open for business.” But, later in a shorter briefing than usual, a senior – and widely respected – member of his public health team said he had privately urged his boss to remain “flexible” as Mr Trump acknowledged his goal is not based on medical science or data about the virus outbreak. Senior congressional Democrats and experts panned his plans and called on him to listen to scientific experts, although the always-defiant president again and again flashed his penchant to follow his own instincts as he makes a major gamble about his re-election chances.

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