WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday night acknowledged that coronavirus cases are rising in "certain areas" of the Midwest, a rare admission during the final week of the presidential campaign.
"Certain areas that are heated up right now," Trump said at a rally in Omaha, Nebraska. "They'll go down. They'll go down very quickly. They'll be down within two weeks, they're figuring."
Trump has routinely downplayed the virus while making his closing argument to voters, who have rated his pandemic response poorly, according to opinion polls. Throughout his presidency, he has promised results for various initiatives in two weeks.
The president said again on Tuesday that the country is "turning that corner" and pledged the virus would go away with or without a vaccine. He accused the news media of covering the pandemic in order to damage him politically and said the day after Election Day, "you won't be hearing that much" about it.
Coronavirus cases are soaring in states across the U.S. and hospitalizations are up at least 10% in the past week in 32 states, putting strain on the nation's health care system.
Outbreaks in Midwestern states have driven the most recent surge in virus cases. They're rising in Michigan, Illinois and Iowa, but have leveled off or fallen in Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota. As a region, the Midwest's seven-day average of cases has slightly fallen, but is still near a record.
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