TORONTO -- Former U.S. President Barack Obama praised Canada’s response to COVID-19 on Saturday as he criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, suggesting that the U.S. could’ve saved thousands of lives if it had acted more like its northern neighbours.

Obama’s comments were made during a drive-in rally held by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Michigan. 

“Our mortality rate in the United States is two and a half times higher than Canada – think about that. If we had the same percentage of folks dying in Canada, as we do here, nearly 90,000 Americans would have died, instead of 230,000 Americans,” Obama said.

“If we had handled this pandemic like Canada did, 140,000 of our fellow Americans, might still be alive today. Think about that.” 

In Canada, 10,136 people have died of COVID-19 as of Saturday. In the U.S., 230,316 people have died of COVID-19 and more than 9,110,000 have tested positive, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. 

Based on those numbers, the U.S. has a lower case-to-fatality rate than Canada, at 2.5 per cent versus 4.3 per cent. However, the U.S. has a much higher number of deaths per 100,000 than Canada, at roughly 70 per 100,000 compared to 27 per 100,000.

Obama acknowledged COVID-19 would’ve been a tough file for any president to handle, but added: “This idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is nonsense.”

Obama toured the state as part of a final push to pump up voters ahead of election day on Tuesday. Michigan played a critical role in Trump’s 2016 victory, where he won by a slim margin of 11,000 votes. 

Biden has invested heavily in the battleground state in hopes of flipping it for Democrats on Tuesday, and he currently holds a wide lead in the state, according to the latest polling averages. 

As of Saturday, nearly 90 million voters had already cast ballots nationwide, according to a tally by the Associated Press, while tens of millions are still expected to vote before the polls close Tuesday night.

Michigan reported 3,793 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest single-day case total since the pandemic began, and 31 deaths, according to the latest update from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service.