• Friday, Sep 25, 2020
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Trump scraps Republican convention, US Covid-19 cases top 4m

  • Published at 09:20 pm July 24th, 2020
Donald Trump
File photo: US President Donald Trump listens to questions during a coronavirus response news briefing at the White House in Washington, US, July 21, 2020 Reuters

With a total of 4,028,741 cases and more than 144,000 deaths, the United States is by far the hardest-hit country in the world

President Donald Trump announced on Thursday he was scrapping the Republican nominating convention in Florida as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States topped four million.

Trump said he was cancelling next month's event in Jacksonville because it was not the right time to do a "big, crowded convention."

"The timing for this event is not right, it's just not right with what's happened recently," he said at a White House news conference.

Trump was speaking just hours after Johns Hopkins University reported that there were now more than four million Covid-19 cases in the United States.

With a total of 4,028,741 cases and more than 144,000 deaths, the United States is by far the hardest-hit country in the world, with Brazil and India trailing in second and third place for infection numbers.

The country has seen a coronavirus surge, particularly in southern and western states, and Texas, California, Alabama, Idaho and Florida all announced record one-day death tolls.

Trump said convention events would be held "online in some form."

Republican delegates who will nominate him as the party's candidate in November's election against Democrat Joe Biden will gather in North Carolina for a "reasonably quick meeting," he said. 

The main reason for cancelling the Jacksonville event was "safety," he said.

"It's hard for us to say we should have a lot of people packed into a room and then other people shouldn't do it," he said. "There's nothing more crowded than a convention.

"I think we're setting an example."

The Republican convention had been scheduled to be held in Jacksonville from August 24-27 but the city has become a virus hotspot.

'Making preparations to open'

Trump also reiterated that he wanted schools to open in the fall.

"Being at the school, being on the campus, is very, very important," he said. "In cities or states that are current hot spots... districts may need to delay reopening for a few weeks.

"The decision should be made based on the data and the facts on the ground in each community but every district should be actively making preparations to open," he said.

Signs of hope are emerging in some regions.

The southwestern state of Arizona, which broke 5,000 daily cases in late June, has seen its infections consistently falling throughout this month and the level is now around 2,000.

Florida's new cases have been flatlining for the past week, according to a seven-day average, while the growth rate in Texas is beginning to ease.

Fatality rates remain high in all three states because of the inevitable lag time between progression of the disease and death.

Florida, for example, announced 173 deaths Thursday, a new daily record.

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