/Election 2020 live updates: Trump, Harris campaign in battleground Arizona

Election 2020 live updates: Trump, Harris campaign in battleground Arizona

Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House coronavirus task force who was charged with leading the country’s testing efforts at the beginning of the pandemic and has been careful not to break from the White House message, directly contradicted the president this morning when he acknowledged U.S. coronavirus cases are on the rise — and not due to testing.

Trump said Tuesday, as he has throughout the pandemic, that the virus is going away and cases are rising due to increased testing — but Giroir countered both of those points and warned “Draconian measures” may be required “if we don’t make a change.”

“We do believe and the data show that cases are going up. It’s not just a function of testing,” Giroir said in an interview this morning on NBC. “Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up.”

“It’s not just a function of testing,” Giroir added, calling the current moment a “critical point” in the country’s pandemic response. He went on to remind Americans to practice social distancing, wear a face mask and avoid crowded, indoor spaces — CDC guidelines which the Trump campaign itself has scantily adhered to.

“If we don’t do those things, it may force local officials or government officials in the states to have more draconian measures because cases will go up if we don’t make a change,” Giroir warned. “The virus isn’t acting on its own.”

The president has increasingly sought to tune out that reality as he holds mass gatherings day-after-day in the final stretch of his campaign, including in some of the hardest hit states. At those rallies, Trump has lamented over media coverage of COVID-19, claiming the coverage is intended to hurt his reelection chances. It comes as the U.S. reported a record of more than 500,000 new cases over the past week alone.

-ABC News’ Brian Hartman