White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's claim at his rally that he asked officials to slow down coronavirus testing was "tongue-in-cheek," calling it a "light moment."

Why it matters: Trump said as recently as last week that coronavirus testing is "overrated," arguing that it makes the U.S. "look bad" because it leads to a higher number of confirmed cases.

  • However, the significant spike in cases that's been recorded in recent weeks in states like Arizona, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida isn't solely attributable to more testing.
  • Joe Biden immediately pounced on Trump's comments, releasing a statement that called them "outrageous" and "appalling." "Speed up the testing," Biden tweeted.

The exchange:

NAVARRO: "Come on now, Jake, you know it was tongue-in-cheek. That was tongue-in-cheek, please."
JAKE TAPPER: "I don't know that it was tongue-in-cheek at all. He has said similar things for months."
NAVARRO: "We've got over 30 million people unemployed and we've seen over 100,000 people die because of the China, Wuhan virus. Let's talk about some serious issues, Jake. I don't want to go there."
TAPPER: "I think that testing is a very serious issue. I'm not the one making jokes about it. You're the one that said the president was being tongue-in-cheek."
NAVARRO: "Come on, it was a light moment."

The big picture: Navarro said that "of course" the administration is preparing for a potential second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, arguing, "You prepare for what can possibly happen — I'm not saying it's going to happen, but of course you prepare."

  • Navarro also claimed, without evidence, that China "created this pandemic," refusing to rule out the claim that the coronavirus was purposely manufactured in a lab. The U.S. intelligence community has said there’s enough evidence to conclude that the virus evolved naturally.
  • Navarro later clarified that he meant that the virus was "spawned" in China, and he called the Chinese Communist Party "guilty until proven innocent."

Go deeper: U.S. reports highest number of new coronavirus cases since May 1

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

India has reported more coronavirus cases than any other country besides the U.S. and Brazil, per Johns Hopkins data.

By the numbers: More than 539,000 people have died from the virus and more than 11.6 million have tested positive worldwide. More than 6.3 million patients have recovered.

Arizona reports record daily coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations

Arizona continues to administer coronavirus tests. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Arizona reported a record 117 new coronavirus deaths, 3,356 total hospitalizations, and 869 ICU beds in use on Tuesday, according to data from Arizona's Department of Health Services.

Why it matters: The number of daily deaths in coronavirus hotspots across the Sunbelt has not reached the levels that New York saw at the peak of its outbreak, likely because many of the new cases are young people with little to no symptoms. But that could start to change as hospitals reach maximum capacity and more vulnerable groups contract the virus.

Updated 22 hours ago - Health

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus after displaying no symptoms.

Why it matters: Bottoms, one of several Black women on the shortlist to be Joe Biden's running mate, has risen to national prominence in recent months as part of mass protests over racism and police brutality — driven in part by the killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police.