US Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-N.C., wears a face mask during a House committee meeting in May. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP) US Rep. Alma Adams
US Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-N.C., wears a face mask during a House committee meeting in May. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

With US deaths making up a quarter of deaths worldwide, Democrats are pounding Trump administration on coronavirus strategy.

Amid a grim surge in coronavirus in her home state and city, US Congresswoman Alma Adams said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s approach to the virus is “no lives matter.”

Adams, a Charlotte Democrat, was one of several Democratic lawmakers who lashed out at Trump in a call with reporters, questioning his administration’s strategy to containing the deadly virus, which, as of Wednesday, had killed 1,441 in NC and 131,594 in the US

The US outbreak has been the worst in the world, with American deaths accounting for nearly a quarter of deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. And, as The NY Times reported today: “There is no country in the world where confirmed coronavirus cases are growing as rapidly as they are in Arizona, Florida or South Carolina.”

From that NYT analysis of the world’s worst outbreaks, NC ranks 25th in the world, just behind countries like Brazil, South Africa and Chile. 

Adams is also a Charlotte resident in Mecklenburg County, one of the hardest-hit cities and counties in NC.  

NC Gov. Roy Cooper has been criticized by some for beginning to ease the state’s restrictions in late May, but Trump has borne the bulk of the criticism from lawmakers, including even some on the right for his handling of the coronavirus. As The Associated Press reported this spring, the president’s administration downplayed the contagious virus early on, even declining to order vital healthcare supplies until weeks after it exploded in America. 

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In recent weeks, the president has eschewed masks despite mounting evidence that the protective wear can reduce the spread of COVID-19. He’s also flouted the advice of public health leaders by holding rallies in states like Arizona that are besieged by the virus. 

“We needed a leader who would take this crisis seriously,” Adams said Wednesday. “That wasn’t Donald Trump.”

‘Donald Trump hasn’t risen to the challenge.’

Adams also emphasized the impact 2020 has had on Black Americans, noting coronavirus’ disproportionate death toll in Black communities, as well as a slew of police-involved deaths that spurred massive demonstrations inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

RELATED: Coronavirus Has Closed a Quarter of NC Childcare Centers. But the Economy Can’t Recover Without Them.

“Donald Trump hasn’t risen to the challenge,” Adams said. “The human cost is undeniable because the president spends his time tweeting and fanning the flames of racism from the White House.”

Adams compared Trump to his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, who’s called on the Trump administration to trust the guidance of public health leaders and bolster the country’s pandemic planning for the next virus.

Trump, meanwhile, has been moving to slash funding for testing in some states, not including NC, a move he forecast with his controversial comments last month.

“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump told his supporters at a rally in Tulsa late last month.

Democrats like Adams have been issuing blistering criticism of Trump and Republican lawmakers for opposing their party’s HEROES Act, which includes trillions in coronavirus relief for state and local governments, as well as aid for businesses and individuals. Republicans like Trump and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell have been dismissive of the bill.  

Adams was joined by fellow Democrats Kathy Manning and Deborah Ross, both of whom are running for seats in Congress this year — Ross in NC’s 2nd Congressional District, Manning in NC’s 6th.

“We absolutely need to get this virus under control,” Ross said. “But the president has been the worst enemy of people who want to get this virus under control.”

Ross talked as well about Democrats’ demands for broadband infrastructure funding, an issue of particular import in parts of NC without high-speed Internet access.

Broadband gaps are a major obstacle to online learning in rural parts of NC, amid uncertainty about an August return to in-person learning in NC.

“It’s essentially denying them an education,” Ross said.

Manning noted the US has the highest per capita infection rate in the world. “President Trump has shown no interest or no ability to lead our nation through this crisis,” Manning said.