NBC news reports the White House knows COVID-19 is spiking in the 'heartland' — while Trump claims otherwise

NBC news reports the White House knows COVID-19 is spiking in the 'heartland' — while Trump claims otherwise
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the White House Coronavirus Task Force coronavirus update briefing Sunday, March 29, 2020, in the Rose Garden at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

On Monday, President Donald Trump was triumphant in his attitude toward the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking before reporters in the White House Rose Garden, he declared: "We have met the moment and we have prevailed.”

He also added: "The numbers are coming down very rapidly all throughout the country."

But according to a new report from NBC News, this isn't true — and the White House knows it.

The report found that undisclosed data obtained by the Coronavirus Task Force, reviewed by NBC News, shows that in many "heartland communities," cases of the virus are spiking. While the outbreak in New York City, once the focus of the United States' crisis, has reduced in severity, other regions may soon be facing their own frightening escalations.

The NBC News report explained:

The 10 top areas recorded surges of 72.4 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the previous week, according to a set of tables produced for the task force by its data and analytics unit. They include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list, with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Kentucky.

On a separate list of "locations to watch," which didn't meet the precise criteria for the first set: Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Minneapolis; Montgomery, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix. The rates of new cases in Charlotte and Kansas City represented increases of more than 200 percent over the previous week, and other tables included in the data show clusters in neighboring counties that don't form geographic areas on their own, such as Wisconsin's Kenosha and Racine counties, which neighbor each other between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, Trump has been encouraging states to "reopen" and withdraw coronavirus mitigation measures, such as business closures and stay-at-home orders. The Trump administration initially set strict benchmarks for states to meet before considering opening up as a guideline, but Trump himself sent the message that governors should move as fast as possible. It's not clear if any of the states relaxing their mitigation efforts have met the administration's own official standards for doing so.

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