Protests eclipse pandemic, but White House fears resurgence

FILE - In this April 27, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during briefing about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. For weeks, Trump has been eager to publicly turn the page on the coronavirus pandemic. But now the White House fears that the very thing that finally shoved the virus off centerstage — mass protests over the death of George Floyd — may bring about its resurgence. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) - For weeks, President Donald Trump has been eager to publicly turn the page on the coronavirus pandemic. Now fears are growing within the White House that the very thing that finally shoved the virus from center stage - mass protests over the death of George Floyd - may bring about its resurgence.

Trump this week has eagerly pronounced himself the "president of law and order" in response to the racial unrest that has swept across the nation, overshadowing the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 105,000 Americans and imperiled his reelection prospects.

But political dangers for the president remain.

Thousands of Americans - many without protective face masks - have jammed the nation's streets over the past week in defiance of social distancing guidelines from governors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.