Donald Trump has lashed out at officials in New York City, who he has accused of inflating the number of people who have died in the city from Covid-19.
During Wednesday's coronavirus task force press briefing at the White House, Trump said that health officials in New York had added an extra 3,700 deaths to the total confirmed figure.
According to new data these people were deemed to have been killed by the virus but were never properly tested, despite reportedly having symptoms.
These additions move the number of deaths in the city to more than 10,000 but Trump wasn't buying, telling the press that the New York health officials added them "just in case".
I see this morning where New York added 3,000 [sic] deaths because they died. Rather than [a] heart attack, they say heart attack caused by this. If you look at it, that is it. Everything we have is documented and reported great. What they are doing is just in case — that is OK. We have more cases because we do more reporting.
This now pushes the entire total of death in the United States to more than 28,000, more than anywhere else in the world, with more than 644,00 confirmed cases in the nation.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dr. Oxiris Barbot of the New York health department explained that although these individuals had not been tested they've death could have been prevented if the city's hospitals had not been overwhelmed, adding:
This is yet another part of the impact of Covid. What New Yorkers are interested in, and what the country is interested in, is that we have an accurate and complete count. It’s part of the healing process that we’re going to have to go through.
Freddi Goldstein, who is a spokesperson for Bill DeBlasio, the mayor of NYC, hit out at Trump for his lack of compassion and trying to downplay the deaths.
These were people with names, hobbies, lives. They leave behind grieving loved ones. They deserve to be recognised, not minimised.