US President Donald Trump has bragged about the millions of people tuning in to view his daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, saying on Twitter his average ratings matched a season finale of The Bachelor.

“Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,” Trump tweeted before his Sunday briefing.

‘Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.’ said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!”

Trump’s daily coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, the New York Times reported on March 25, citing Nielsen data.

Trump had abandoned the custom of having regular media briefings at the White House but brought them back this month to update the public on his coronavirus task force.

The New York Times said viewership of the briefings had risen because people were concerned about the virus and stuck at home.

Trump’s briefing on March 23 drew nearly 12.2 million viewers on the major cable news channels, the newspaper said.

Millions more than usual are watching on ABC, CBS, NBC and online streaming sites, it said, but reliable numbers are available only for cable news.

MSNBC cut away from the March 23 briefing after about an hour, later saying “the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health”.

During the briefings, Trump has made inaccurate claims about his administration’s response to the virus and undercut warnings by public officials.

Trump and top administration officials for weeks played down the outbreak, which began in China in December before shifting their tone about the severity of the health crisis more recently.