Politics 10:10 17/09/2020 World

Trump says coronavirus vaccine could be weeks away

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus could be three or four weeks away, despite cautionary notes sounded by some U.S. public health officials about that accelerated timeline, Reuters reported.

Trump, speaking at a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, defended his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and said a vaccine could be ready for distribution before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.

“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he said. “If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals. And we’re within weeks of getting it... Could be three weeks, four weeks.”

Trump bristled at tough questions from uncommitted voters and ABC News host George Stephanopoulos during the town hall meeting, arguing that his decision to impose travel bans on China and Europe had saved thousands, if not millions, of lives.

He also defended Americans who have shunned face masks and social distancing guidelines, and said even experts like Fauci had changed their views about those practices during the crisis.

Trump has faced criticism for holding large-scale campaign events in Nevada and other states - events that his adviser Fauci has described as “absolutely” risky.

The United States has reported nearly 6.6 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, the highest number worldwide, and nearly 195,000 deaths. That accounts for 20% of the cases worldwide, although the United States has just 4% of the world’s population.

He also repeated his claim from early in the pandemic that the virus would disappear on its own, and denied understating the threat of the disease when asked by an audience member why he would “downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action. My action was very strong,” the Republican president, who is seeking reelection on Nov. 3, said.

“It would go away without the vaccine ... but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it,” he said. “You’ll develop ... a herd mentality.”



Source Panorama.am
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