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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Thursday that he personally thinks testing for the coronavirus is "overrated," arguing that it has led to an increase in confirmed cases in the U.S. that "makes us look bad."

Why it matters: The ability to test and isolate patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus is viewed by health experts as critical to being able to safely reopen the economy.

  • While increased testing can lead to a higher number of confirmed cases, the rates of growth in Arizona, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida over the last two weeks are not solely attributable to more testing.

What he's saying: "I personally think testing is overrated, even though I created the greatest testing machine in history," Trump told WSJ.

  • He also claimed, without evidence, that China may have intentionally allowed the virus to spread beyond its borders to damage the U.S. economy: "They’re saying, man, we’re in a mess. The United States is killing us. Don’t forget, my economy during the last year and a half was blowing them away. And the reason is the tariffs."
  • "I don’t think they would do that," he added. "But you never know. But it has had an impact."

On the issue of face masks, which he has rarely worn in public despite the CDC's recommendation to do so, Trump claimed that people fidget with them and it makes them more likely to be infected by the virus.

  • "They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth. And then they don’t know how they caught it?"

Go deeper: The states where coronavirus is spreading the fastest

Go deeper

Sep 25, 2020 - Health

Florida fully lifts coronavirus restrictions on restaurants

Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday the state will completely reopen its economy, allowing restaurants to operate at full capacity and barring localities from ordering businesses to close.

Why it matters: The state became one of the world's epicenters for the virus in July, forcing DeSantis to pause its first round of reopening.

Where the science stands on using face masks against coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Scientific evidence shows face masks can help to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the nuances and changes in messaging about their use are complicating public health efforts.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases are rising in many parts of the U.S., but politics, distrust in public health advice and science are coming to a head over face masks.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.