President Donald Trump continued to tout a decline in COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, saying the U.S. has "the lowest mortality rate in the world." And over the weekend, he said 99% of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, on the other hand, warned about a false sense of security during a press conference with U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.
"It's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death," Fauci said. "There's so many other things that are very dangerous and very bad about this virus. Don't get yourself into false complacency."
The U.S. leads in the global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases with more than 2.9 million. About 130,000 have died. Some areas are rolling back their reopening plans and reimposing coronavirus restrictions as they see spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The nation's top infectious disease expert said states should do what they can at a local level to curb the spread of the virus.
"When you look at what we can do that we know works, it's the use of masks and physical distance and avoiding crowds," Fauci said. "I don't like to be authoritarian from the federal government, but at the local level, if governors and others essentially mandate the use of masks when you have an outbreak, I think that would be very important."
Contains footage from CNN.