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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Reality check: The U.S. is averaging roughly 65,000 new cases and 1,000 deaths per day. The virus has already killed nearly 150,000 Americans, and it spread largely unchecked through almost the entire country throughout June and July.

The big picture: In the interview, which took place last Tuesday, Trump returned to familiar themes and areas where the U.S. really has made significant progress. He cited the dramatic increase in ventilator production, the ramp-up in testing and treatment that has reduced the overall fatality rate from the virus.

  • Yes, but: He painted a far rosier picture of the pandemic than most data would support.

On testing, Trump said, “You know there are those that say you can test too much” — a view that no experts have advocated.

  • The U.S. is experiencing long turnaround times for coronavirus testing, as Trump acknowledged, because of the high demand for testing. But that is largely a function of the country’s high caseload and the number of people at risk of infection.

He also returned to his mantra that “because we've done more tests, we have more cases.”

  • The cases the U.S. has, we would have had with or without testing. We know we have them because of testing, but the massive outbreak here would be a massive outbreak whether we chose to know about it (through testing) or ignore it by not testing.

Trump also seemed to suggest that he did not trust South Korea’s coronavirus data, when pressed on that country’s more successful coronavirus response.

  • There have been no serious allegations, from experts, international authorities or the U.S., that South Korea’s numbers are inaccurate.

Go deeper

Nov 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Airlines urge nations to replace quarantine with digital travel pass

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado

Three global alliances representing 58 airlines are pushing governments to replace onerous quarantine restrictions with widespread COVID-19 testing and digital travel passes that would verify who's safe to fly, AP reports.

Why it matters: Adopting common testing procedure with results verified by a secure smartphone app could help restart international travel by building trust between countries without requiring a 14-day quarantine.

White House urges Iowa to tighten restrictions as COVID-19 surges

Reynolds meets with Trump in May. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Iowa is experiencing an "unyielding COVID spread," illustrated by swelling hospital admissions and ICU data, according to a Nov. 8 White House Coronavirus Task Force report obtained by the local ABC News affiliate.

Driving the news: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has repeatedly said that strict rules were unnecessary and ineffective, on Tuesday issued limits on large gatherings and implemented a partial mask mandate for social settings and some businesses.

Fauci: Working with Trump administration has "been very stressful"

Anthony Fauci. Photo: GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Wednesday interview that working alongside the Trump administration to combat the coronavirus in the U.S. has been "very stressful."

Why it matters: Although Fauci, who considers himself apolitical, is among the most trusted voices in the country on the coronavirus, he has faced attacks from Trump loyalists and the president himself, who recently called him a "disaster."