President Donald Trump this week continued to minimize the severity of the coronavirus pandemic even as the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 reported deaths related to COVID-19.Months after admitting to intentionally “playing it down” in order to avoid “panic,” Trump has bucked public health experts’ warnings about the virus at an increasing clip, repeating false and misleading statements about the pandemic as he fights for reelection.During a Tuesday interview with Fox television stations, Trump alternately called his response to the pandemic “incredible” and “tremendous.” The comment shortly before the toll passed 200,000 reported deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. He has awarded himself a grade of “A+” for his handling of the pandemic but said he deserved a “D” for what he called “public relations.””We have in this country now, you know, close to 200,000 deaths,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Monday interview with “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” “We have 6 million-plus infections. You can’t look at that and say that’s terrific.”Trump has in recent weeks repeatedly claimed that the United States is “rounding the


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