US President Donald Trump has argued it is “a badge of honour” that the US has the world’s highest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections.
“I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better,” he said at the White House.
The US has 1.5 million coronavirus cases and nearly 92,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In second place is Russia, with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases.
What did Trump say?
On Monday, Mr Trump was hosting his first cabinet meeting since the US outbreak began.
“By the way, you know when you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else,” he told reporters.
“So when we have a lot of cases,” he continued, “I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better.”
He added: “So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it’s a badge of honour.
“It’s a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a federal agency, the US had conducted 12.6m coronavirus tests by Tuesday.
Things the US has got right – and got wrong
Is the president right?
While the US has conducted more tests by volume than any other country, it is not first in the world on a per capita basis, according to Our World in Data, a scientific publication based at Oxford University.
Its chart ranks the US as 16th globally in terms of tests per 1,000 people, ahead of South Korea, but less than the likes of Iceland, New Zealand, Russia and Canada.
Over the past week, the US has been conducting between 300,000 and 400,000 tests daily, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer-led effort.
But the Harvard Global Health Institute argues the US needs to be conducting a minimum of half a million tests per day to reopen the economy and stay open.
The US has also reported the most coronavirus deaths in the world, but on a per capita basis it ranks eighth behind the likes of Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom, according to Johns Hopkins University.