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Leaked White House documents show a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases in several cities in middle America, directly contradicting Donald Trump's comments Monday that the virus is under control.

According to a May 7 coronavirus task force memo obtained by NBC News, cities in Tennessee, Iowa, Texas, and Kentucky saw a spike in coronavirus cases in the seven-day period leading up to that date, with Central City, Kentucky, experiencing a 650 percent increase in that same time frame.

Charlotte, North Carolina, and Kansas City, Missouri, both had increases of 200 percent over the same seven-day period.

The memo also advised members of the task force to keep an eye on several cities in Nebraska, Ohio, Alabama, Minnesota, and Arizona because of a spike in confirmed cases.

Despite the data, Trump went on television on Monday and falsely declared that the "numbers are really coming down very substantially."

"The numbers are coming down very rapidly — all throughout the country, by the way," he said, referring to the total cases nationwide.

The sudden uptick in coronavirus cases notably comes as a number of states begin to ease stay-at-home orders and other safety measures intended to slow the spread of the virus. Trump himself has repeatedly pushed for the country to reopen, against expert advice, tweeting Monday that states like Pennsylvania "want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails."

"The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don't play politics. Be safe, move quickly!" he wrote.

Trump's lie on Monday is the latest example of him contradicting direct evidence about the pandemic to downplay the threat.

On Feb. 24, despite repeated warnings from the intelligence community about the severity of the crisis, Trump declared, "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA."

The next month, even as the virus continued to ravage through the country and the death toll surged, Trump promised that it would magically disappear.

"It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away," he claimed on March 10.

More than two months after Trump made that claim, the virus has persisted.

A May 6 analysis by the Associated Press showed that coronavirus infections were continuing to increase across the country. As of Tuesday morning, at least 1,354,300 people had confirmed coronavirus cases, and approximately 80,684 people had died.

Many of the cities experiencing a sharp increase in cases are located in Republican-led states that have pushed to reopen the economy against the advice of health experts.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, is expected to warn Congress at a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that abandoning safety guidelines too quickly "will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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New details about the direct role that Donald Trump played in developing a strategy to overturn the 2020 election were revealed in a federal court filing from election coup attorney John Eastman late Thursday.

Eastman is several months into a battle to keep records of his work for Trump in the run-up to January 6 confidential. but in his latest parry to bar access to emails he says should be protected under attorney-client privilege, he has revealed that Trump sent him at least “two hand-written notes” containing information “he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation” challenging election results.

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