US President Donald Trump has named Australia among a list of countries that is now suffering a "second wave" after doing initially well at handling the pandemic.
"A resurgence has taken place in many countries that people thought were doing well. Despite a wide range of approaches to the pandemic, this resurgence in cases is occurring throughout large portions of our planet – in Japan, China, Australia, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Hong Kong – places where they thought they'd really done great," he said at a press conference today. "It came back, and in a couple of cases came back very strongly."
The President went on: "The virus was said to be under control but new cases have risen very significantly once again. So when you think someone is doing well, sometimes you have to hold your decision on that.
"Since the beginning of June, daily new cases have increased by a factor of nearly 30 times in Australia".
Over the first week of June, Australia recorded an average of 10 new cases per day, according to government data. Over the past week, there has been an average of 385 new cases reported each day.
Trump said Australia had been "doing incredibly well" and its "leadership was praised".
"This pandemic is devastating the rest of the world," he said, quoting a Wall Street Journal article about the world's Covid resurgence.
"Countries hailed as models to see – and then they go, 'The virus returns' at a level they haven't even seen. We've been giving praise to certain countries and the virus has now come to them like the first time.
"There were many countries where everyone was holding them up and saying 'Look what a great job they did' – it didn't work out so well."
The Wall Street Journal editorial he quoted also specifically named Australia as one of several countries that was experiencing a "second wave".
"Australia's new daily cases have increased 11-fold in the last month," the article said.
"Cases have increased though Australia's government locked down Melbourne. Civil disobedience is rife. Nearly 90 per cent of the infected didn't isolate between the time they started showing symptoms and were tested, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews recently noted.
"More than half of those infected didn't isolate after being tested and when they got their results."
But many on social media have criticised the comparison, saying comparing Australia and the US is "like comparing a BB gun and an atom bomb".
The United States has more cases and deaths than any other country in the world, with close to 4.5 million cases and 151,826 deaths.
Its four hardest-hit states alone – California, Florida, Texas and New York – have more infections than most of the countries in the top ten. Yesterday, the country recorded over 63,000 new cases.
The Trump administration's handling of the pandemic has faced heavy criticism for poor messaging and opening up too soon.
Some experts have disputed the claim that certain countries are going through a "second wave", saying the spread is instead likely to be "one big wave".
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WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris warned that people need to remain vigilant despite lockdowns easing.
She said the idea of a "second wave" is flawed because the spread of the virus does not seem to be seasonal, stressing that the dangers remain all year.
"People are still thinking about seasons," she told a press conference on Tuesday.
"What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and it is behaving, even though it is a respiratory virus, even though respiratory viruses in the past did tend to this different seasonal waves, this one is behaving differently.
"There seems to be this persistent belief that summer is not a problem.
"Summer is a problem. This virus likes all weathers, but what it particularly likes is jumping from one person to another when we come in close contact.
"So let's not give it that opportunity. The second wave idea, we are in the first wave. It's going to be one big wave."
She said social distancing remains the best way to prevent transmission of the virus.
"It's going to go up and down a bit," she continued, "Now, the best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.
"The season does not seem to be affecting the transmission of this virus currently.
"What is affecting the transmission of this virus is mass gatherings, it is people coming together and people not social distancing, not talking the precautions to ensure they are not in close contact."