Fact Check: Is U.S. 'Rounding the Turn' On COVID, as Trump Claims?

Over the past few weeks, President Donald Trump has continued to say that the U.S. is "rounding the turn" on the novel coronavirus, a claim that many have questioned as the virus continues to spread.

The Claim

During the final presidential debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the two spoke about the ongoing pandemic, when Trump said, "It will go away and, as I say, we're rounding the turn."

"We're rounding the corner. It's going away," Trump added.

Trump has made similar comments on several other occasions, including during a town hall with NBC News on October 15.

"And what we've done has been amazing. And we have done an amazing job," Trump said about his administration's response to the pandemic. "And it's rounding the corner, and we have the vaccines coming and we have the therapies coming."

During a virtual Nevada tele-rally on August 31, Trump first said the U.S. was "rounding the final turn" with COVID-19, and just a few days later, during a September 3 rally in Pennsylvania, he said, "We are rounding that turn, and vaccines are coming along great."

At a rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, he once again said that the U.S. is "rounding the turn with or without the vaccine."

On Saturday, Forbes published a report which noted that Trump has said the U.S. is "rounding the turn," "corner" or "bend" in 36 of the past 54 days.

The Facts

Despite Trump's consistent claims that the U.S. is nearing the final turn of the pandemic, many health professionals have expressed opposition to his claims.

In early-September, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell and discussed Trump's claims.

"I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with that because if you look at the thing that you just mentioned, the statistics, Andrea, they're disturbing," Fauci said. "We're plateauing at around 40,000 cases a day and the deaths are around 1,000."

And if you look at the map of the United States, there are areas that when it gets above a certain percentage, that is an indication, percentage of tests that are positive, that is an indication that you're actually going in the wrong direction.
Dr. Anthony Fauci

During a interview with BBC on Sunday, Fauci was asked again about Trump's comments made during the final presidential debate and was asked, "Is that so?" regarding the U.S. "rounding the turn" with COVID-19.

"No, it's not. I mean I think if you just look at the numbers, you can have opinions about what's going on, but the data speak for themselves," Fauci said. "Yesterday we had over 70,000 cases additional cases in a day and we had about 100, oh, I would say about a thousand deaths, excuse me, a thousand deaths.

Biden also responded to Trump's comments during the final presidential debate, during which he said, "There's not a serious scientist in the world who says it's gonna be over soon. He says we're learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it."

"Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America. We're in a situation where there are a thousand deaths a day and there are over 70,000 new cases per day," the former vice president said during the debate. "The expectation is that we'll have another 200,000 dead by the end of the year. Come on."

In a tweet published on October 9, Biden continued his criticism of Trump's response to the pandemic and wrote, "40,000 people a day are coming down with the coronavirus. What is the matter with this guy?"

In addition to Fauci's comments disputing Trump's claim, COVID-19 data shows cases, deaths and hospitalizations increasing over the past few weeks.

U.S. President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Bangor International Airport in Bangor, Maine on October 25, 2020 Mandel Ngan/Getty

According to data released by the COVID Tracking Project, the seven-day moving average of cases as of October 25 was 68,954, a large increase from the end of August, when data showed an average of 41,373 on August 30.

The data also shows at least 41,753 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of October 25, another increase from September, when hospitalizations remained in the middle to low 30,000s.

According to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 8.6 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., as well as at least 225,239 deaths, the highest numbers for cases and deaths across the globe.

The tracker from Johns Hopkins also shows that the U.S. reporting its largest single-day number of cases on Sunday, with more than 83,000.

A COVID-19 tracking map published by the New York Times shows at least 32 states having an increasing number of cases and at least 15 new cases per 100,000 over the past week. The map also shows at least 12 states where cases were previously low, now seeing at least 15 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.

The Ruling

False.

Despite Trump's continued claims that the U.S. is "rounding the turn" on COVID-19, health experts and data show that the U.S. is actively facing the threat of the virus, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment from Trump but did not receive a response in time for publication.