President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that New Zealand was experiencing a coronavirus “spike” following a handful of cases being discovered on the island nation after going three months without a reported case.
“There were holding up names of countries and now they're saying, 'Whoops,' like even New Zealand, you see what's going on in New Zealand,” Trump said on Tuesday. “’They beat it, they beat it' it was like front page 'they beat it,' because they wanted to show me something. The problem is big surge in New Zealand so you know, it's terrible. We don't want that.”
But New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern snapped back at Trump.
“I don't think there's any comparison between New Zealand's current cluster and the tens of thousands of cases that are being seen daily in the United States,” Ardern said early Wednesday in New Zealand. “Obviously, every country is experiencing its own fight with COVID-19. It is a tricky virus, but not one where I would compare New Zealand's current status to the United States."
According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the island nation has recorded 90 coronavirus cases in the last week, generally confirmed to the Auckland region. On Tuesday, New Zealand reported 13 new cases. Meanwhile the US is averaging more than 40,000 cases per day.
New Zealand has a much smaller population than the US with 5 million residents. Per 1 million people, New Zealand has 2.5 cases. The US has 121 cases per 1 million residents.
After generally lifting most social distancing measures throughout the nation, the country has gone back to a heightened state of alert, especially in the Auckland region, which is at a Level 3 alert. The government has also set the nation’s parliamentary election back four weeks to October 17.
Unlike in the US where the date of the election is set by statute, New Zealand’s governor-general sets the date of the election, given it is within a three-year timeframe from the previous election.