Disturbing map shows America in trouble
Donald Trump says the US is "rounding the turn" on the coronavirus, but a state-by-state breakdown of the current situation shows red across the map - and not the Republican kind.
The vast majority of states are currently classed as "uncontrolled spread", with around a dozen "trending poorly" and just one - the northeastern state of Maine - represented in green as "trending better", according to COVID Exit Strategy.
The colour-coded map represents how well each state is tracking based on "gating criteria" that should be satisfied before proceeding to a "phased opening", as outlined by the White House in its Opening Up America Again guidelines.
"The document does not specifically identify data sources or measures, so we had to translate what those meant," the COVID Exit Strategy site explains.
"We've tracked each state's progress towards its reduction in symptoms and cases, health system readiness, and increased test capacity. For each of the criteria we've sourced publicly available data that best represents where a state is at. Some sources are more 'real-time' like case data, but others can lag a week like influenza-like illness data."
Using this data, each measure is assigned a dark red, red, yellow or green score.
COVID Exit Strategy describes itself as a nonpartisan group of "public health and crisis experts", but is largely the brainchild of former Obama administration technology and health officials by way of non-profit groups including US Digital Response and United States of Care.
With the election less than a week away and the President's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic shaping up as what could be the deciding issue, Mr Trump has been keen to downplay the recent surge in cases as a function of greater testing levels.
"Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST," he tweeted earlier this week.
"A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!"
Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2020
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has recorded nearly half a million new cases in the past seven days and more than 5600 deaths.
The total death toll in the US now stands at more than 225,000.
As of October 27, the US had conducted more than 142.8 million tests, according to the CDC website.
Johns Hopkins data show the percentage of positive tests has ticked back over 6 per cent in recent days, having steadily decreased from around 8 per cent since mid-July.
In his contentious 60 Minutes interview aired over the weekend, Mr Trump repeatedly made the point about testing.
"Cases are up in about 40 states," host Lesley Stahl said.
"OK, you know why cases are up, also? Because we do more testing. If we didn't do testing, cases would be way down," Mr Trump replied.
"Why are you saying they're not up? You're saying things that people can see-" Stahl began to say.
"No no, what I'm saying to you, Lesley, is the following. We do more testing than any other country in the world by far," the President said.
"If we did half the testing, we'd have half the cases. If we did no testing, like many countries, we would have no cases. Because we do so much testing - the fake news media loves to say cases are up. The fact is, we've done a very, very good job."
"Cases are up," Stahl pressed.
"That's right, because we're doing so much testing," Mr Trump insisted.
"Will you at least say cases are up?" Stahl asked.
"Yes, cases are up. Because we're doing tremendous testing, and we're finding where there is a problem," he said.
"Testing is a good thing, but it's also very misleading."
Democratic rival Joe Biden has made COVID-19 the key focus of his campaign.
During the final presidential debate last week, Mr Biden accused the President of not having a plan and warned America was heading into a "dark winter", with no guarantee of a vaccine.
Mr Trump responded that he didn't think "we're going to have a dark winter at all". "We are opening up our country, we have learned and studied and understand the disease," he said.
"We are learning to live with it - we have no choice, we can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does," Mr Trump said.
Mr Biden hit back that "people are learning to die with it."
Originally published as Disturbing map shows America in trouble