DONALD Trump has said it's a "badge of honor" that the United States has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world.
The president said the total of 1.5million known infections is a "tribute" to the testing that has been scaled up across the country after early delays.
America is the worst hit nation in the Covid-19 pandemic with more than 93,500 deaths so far.
And there are now 1.57million cases – five times as many as the next highest country Russia with 308,000.
“I view it as a badge of honor,” Trump told reporters at the White House during his first cabinet meeting the pandemic hit.
“It’s a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done."
He went on: “If you’re testing 14 million people, you’re going to find many more cases.
“Many of these people aren’t very sick but they still go down as a case, so actually the number of cases – and we’re also a much bigger country than most.
"So when we have a lot of cases, I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better.”
Trump's administration and the CDC have faced criticism after delays in developing and mass producing a reliable test for coronavirus.
The US has now carried out 11.8million coronavirus tests, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Trump said the nation has the most cases "because we have more testing than anybody else."
That was challenged by an Oxford University study that ranks the US 15th in the world for per-capita testing.
On Monday Trump revealed he was taking anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine despite warnings from the FDA of potentially fatal side-effects.
He claimed it gives him "an additional level of safety" from coronavirus, although doctors say there is no evidence of any benefit.
"I think it's good. I've heard a lot good stories. And if it's not good, I'll tell you right, I'm not going to get hurt by it," he said.
He also lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she raised concerns about his weight and age putting him at higher risk.
Trump called her a "sick woman" who has "a lot of mental problems".
Yesterday China bizarrely accused Trump of "witchcraft" because he's taking hydroxychloroquine.
The editor of the communist-controlled Global Times mocked America's death toll, saying the White House "would have been burned down by angry people" if it were in China.
China has officially recorded 82,965 coronavirus cases and 4,634 deaths, but Trump and many others have questioned the figures and accused the regime of a cover-up.
Chinese authorities this week sealed off two cities and quarantined five million people after a fresh spike in infections.
Today global cases passed the five million mark, with 325,000 deaths.
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