Trump Suggests He May Fire Fauci ‘After the Election’

President Trump at a campaign rally in Opa-locka, Fla., late Sunday.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump suggested at a campaign rally early Monday morning that he might fire Dr. Anthony S. Fauci after Election Day, further escalating the tension between his administration and the nation’s top infectious disease expert as the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States reaches record highs.

Mr. Trump spoke well past midnight at the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport in Florida at his fifth and final rally of the day. At one point, he began reciting a familiar complaint about the news media’s continued coverage of the virus.

His grousing led the crowd of his supporters to begin chanting, “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!” Mr. Trump listened in silence for a few moments before remarking: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice.”

The president’s aside came toward the end of what was a whirlwind day of campaigning across five states, and he spoke even as a local curfew aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus took effect at midnight. On Friday, more than 99,000 coronavirus infections were reported across the country, a single-day record. Nonetheless, Mr. Trump has maintained without citing evidence that the United States has “turned the corner” in fighting the virus, a point he reiterated at the rally early Monday.

That assertion is strongly disputed by Dr. Fauci, who told the The Washington Post in an interview published on Saturday that the United States “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” as it heads into winter. A White House spokesman later called Dr. Fauci’s comments “unacceptable.”

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, has said repeatedly that if he were to win the presidency, he is hopeful Dr. Fauci would remain in his role and serve in his administration.

Exiting a ferry in Amsterdam on Sunday. 
Credit…Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times

Europe surpassed 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 268,000 Covid-19 deaths on Sunday, staggering tolls for a region that seemed to have a semblance of control over the pandemic after the lockdowns of spring and early summer.

In July, when the devastating first wave subsided, Europe was averaging fewer than 15,000 new infections a day, but that figure reached about 253,000 in the past week, according to figures compiled by The New York Times, and many nations have returned to lockdowns as the virus has spiraled out of control.

The continent’s death rate, which had dropped to about 300 a day in midsummer, is approaching 2,500 a day. That is still lower than at the peak in April, when medical treatment was less effective, but the figure is climbing fast and hospitals in some regions are once again at risk of being inundated.

The United States has the world’s highest totals of confirmed coronavirus infections, more than 9.2 million, and Covid-19 deaths, more than 230,000. In late summer and early autumn, the United States had far more cases and fatalities than Europe, which has more than twice as many people.

But in recent days, Europe overtook the United States in both deaths and infections. The number of infections in Europe reached more than 10.1 million on Sunday, doubling in just 32 days, and it is growing three times as fast as the American caseload.

(The figures, reported by country, are a bit imprecise; they include the non-European part of Russia, but exclude the European part of Turkey. And experts say the true numbers are invariably higher than the official tallies, because some cases go undiscovered.)

Globally, there have been about 46.4 million cases and 1.2 million deaths. Europe, with about 10 percent of the world’s population, has had about 22 percent of the infections and fatalities.

The Czech Republic, Belgium and Andorra have Europe’s highest infection rates, both…

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