President says 'we are praying for' Boris Johnson as coronavirus cases in New York overtake any other country

Joe Sommerlad, Alex Woodward, Danielle Zoellner
President Donald Trump at a daily briefing: Jim Lo Scalzio EPA

The number of coronavirus cases in New York state has now passed 151,600, meaning it has more confirmed infections than any country barring the US itself, as the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits surges to almost 17m.

Despite those grim figures, Donald Trump’s mind appeared to be on other matters, including blasting the Wall Street Journal for not praising him on his ratings during Monday night's White House press briefing. The president tweeted out against the newspaper and called it "fake news" for not saying his ratings were "through the roof".

Other tweets from the president throughout the day included him expressing well wishes to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has reportedly moved out of the ICU after contracting the novel virus. Mr Trump reaffirmed his well wishes when speaking during the his press briefing on Thursday.

But the White House and its coronavirus taskforce have now buckled down on who the officials come in contact with in the coming days as coronavirus cases and death toll continue to rise. It was announced all reporters, photographers, and technicians would need to receive a Covid-19 test before entering the press briefing room.

When it comes to testing, the president announced more than 2m Americans have received tests across the US. Although the president claimed the US was doing better than anyone in testing, South Korea was one country that has tested more per capita compared to America.

One reporter asked Mr Trump how he expected to open up the country in the near future without an efficient nationwide testing system. The president claimed parts of the US were doing well when it came to testing, but he didn't clarify what parts.

Reports continue to circulate that the president has looked mulled over creating another coronavirus taskforce directly focused on reopening the US. Earlier this week the president said he wanted to open the economy with a "big bang", but health experts have warned areas have to open slowly to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

In Congress, lawmakers have been working on another stimulus package to go towards the Treasury Department's new small business paycheck protection programme. But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats needed more time to review and negotiate where funding should go.