Trump plays down virus as he steps up pitch for second term

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the week since President Donald Trump emerged from coronavirus isolation, he has demonstrated new determination to minimize the threat of the virus that has killed more than 215,000 Americans and complicated his chances of winning another four years in the White House. In word and action, he is pushing an optimistic outlook at a moment when coronavirus infections are spiking in Europe and public health officials are raising alarm that the infection rate in the U.S. is climbing toward a new peak. In the past week he has spread misinformation about the virus, undercut the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and kept up his practice of shunning mask use.