Pence Misleadingly Blames Coronavirus Spikes on Rise in Testing

He added that C.D.C. employees would be redeployed to states experiencing new outbreaks and encouraged governors to think “on a county level” when dealing with them. The vice president also said that the virus’s spread was now well contained, and he adopted a term that Mr. Trump has used for the virus — “embers,” which can be quickly snuffed out.

“The president often talks about embers,” Mr. Pence added. “As we go through the summer, as we see, over all, as you all know, around the country, that despite a mass increase in testing, we are still averaging roughly 20,000 cases a day, which is significantly down from six weeks ago.”

Experts, including some in the Trump administration, have warned that stamping out the coronavirus is not that simple. In fact, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned last week that “we have something that turned out to be my worst nightmare,” a reference to the virus’s ability to spread rapidly.

On the call, Mr. Pence instructed Alex M. Azar II, the health secretary, to address the problem in a “constructive” way. Mr. Azar said that localized outbreaks at meatpacking plants and nursing homes would continue to be a focus for officials. “If any of them light on fire,” Mr. Azar said, “we’ve got to get there right away.”

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the administration’s response, reiterated that hospitalization rates for the virus had been declining across the country, though some states had seen an uptick.

“You’re finding cases in the community rather than finding them in the clinic and the hospital,” she said, adding that more people had been identified as asymptomatic or presymptomatic in recent weeks.

She said protest sites across the country had not yet seen a rise in coronavirus cases, though she said data had begun to show “early upticks” in Minneapolis.

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