Trump Says U.S. and China Are Fighting Coronavirus Together With 'Much Respect'

President Donald Trump has celebrated U.S.-Chinese cooperation in the fight against coronavirus, despite the war of words that has developed between Washington and Beijing over who is to blame for the pandemic.

Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone on Friday to discuss bilateral relations and coronavirus, as the U.S. became the nation with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Testy U.S.-Chinese relations have deteriorated amid the coronavirus crisis, with Trump and senior administration figures blaming Beijing for the pandemic. The president has repeatedly referred to the sickness as the "Chinese Virus," dismissing concerns that such rhetoric might encourage racist sentiment.

Meanwhile, Chinese state media has been maligning the U.S. response to the situation and a foreign ministry spokesperson even suggested that the U.S. Army was behind the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

But Trump said Friday that he had a "very good conversation" with Xi. "Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet," the president tweeted. "China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!"

The U.S. surpassed China in confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, with almost 86,000 reported infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 1,300 people have died from the virus in the U.S. while 753 have recovered. A World Health Organization spokesperson said earlier this week that the U.S. could become the epicenter of the outbreak.

Trump and his allies have criticized the Chinese Communist Party for its alleged bungling of the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese officials were slow to acknowledge the problem, silencing whistleblowers and covering up the scale and severity of the sickness.

The regime later adopted an aggressive coronavirus stance, imposing tight restrictions on tens of millions of people to slow the spread. China now appears to be over the worst of its outbreak, though experts have warned that a second wave of infections could yet emerge as restrictions are eased.

Chinese state media has accused the Trump administration of failing to properly react to the outbreak. The president initially downplayed the severity of the situation, describing concern as a Democratic "hoax" and spreading medical misinformation. Trump has also come under fire in recent days for arguing against nationwide lockdown measures.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.
Donald Trump, coronavirus, China, Xi Jinping, respect
President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in the press briefing room of the White House on March 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/Getty