COVID-19 surge in rural Wisconsin is generating 'hostility toward Trump': report
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin (screengrab)

President Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which so far has killed more than 225,000 Americans in just eight months.

Even as the president has continued to falsely claim that the United States is "rounding the corner" on the disease, infections this week surged to record highs and are now averaging more than 73,000 per day.

Few states at the moment are getting hit harder than Wisconsin, which has seen both cases and hospitalizations surge by around 40 percent over the past two weeks.

The Los Angeles Times reports that "hostility toward Trump" is now intensifying in Trempealeau County, a rural Wisconsin county that backed him in 2016 after previously backing former President Barack Obama in the last two elections.

Amy Cornelius, a 49-year-old independent Trempealeau County voter who is backing Biden this year, tells the Los Angeles Times that Trump is “not setting a good example, not wearing a mask, making fun of people wearing masks,” which she finds particularly galling after seeing the father of one of her friends die from the disease.

75-year-old retired teacher Julie Howard, meanwhile, tells the Los Angeles Times that she's tired of the president putting people at risk by holding large campaign rallies.

“He disregards all of the health information that’s out there on crowds,” said Howard, who is also backing Biden.

And Phillip Bunton, a retired Air Force physician’s assistant, tells the Times that he never much cared for Trump but has only grown to detest him more due to his handling of the pandemic.

“I certainly think [Trump’s] ineptitude in dealing with the virus from the very beginning has caused greater effects,” he said. “He just doesn’t get it.”