President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed renewed confidence that a viable COVID-19 vaccine would be ready by October, directly contradicting a senior health expert and facing fierce criticism from his Democratic rival in the elections, Joe Biden.
Mr Trump confused the issue with an extraordinary public rebuke from one of his top health experts who said masks were a major weapon in the fight against the pandemic and a vaccine likely would not be not widely available until mid-2021.
“I think he made a mistake in saying that. This is just incorrect information,” Mr Trump told reporters referring to Senate testimony from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield said a vaccine could arrive at the end of the second trimester, in the third trimester of 2021.
“We are very close to this vaccine as you know … We think we can start in October or soon after,” he said.
“I think he was confused,” he said of Mr Redfield. “I’m just telling you that we are ready to go as soon as the vaccine is launched.”
Mr Redfield told lawmakers on Wednesday that a “very limited” distribution to priority groups, including first responders, could begin in November and December, but full implementation would take at least several months.
“I think we are probably looking at the end of the second quarter, the third quarter of 2021” before a safe and effective vaccine is available to the general public, he added.
Mr Redfield tweeted his support for a potential vaccine on Wednesday evening, but warned Americans to be vigilant about mitigating the viral spread in the meantime.
The best defense we currently have against this virus are the significant mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing our hands, social distancing, and watching out for crowds. # COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE
Dr Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) September 16, 2020
The contradiction between President Trump and health experts over an issue that became a focal point of the 2020 election campaign highlighted the lack of confidence Biden said he and the public had in the management by the president of the pandemic, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
“When I said I trust vaccines and trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump, that’s what I meant,” Joe Biden tweeted after Mr. Trump.
Just an hour earlier, the Democratic nominee said Mr. Trump’s refusal to take key steps to tackle the pandemic, such as establishing national guidelines on social distancing and testing, was “totally disqualifying “for the presidency.
Mr Biden, speaking after receiving a briefing from public health experts, said he supported a rapid COVID-19 vaccine to help American life return to normal, but said the process should be guided by science and security, not politics.
Vaccines are advancing quickly and safely!
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020 “ Lots of issues with masks ”
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump accelerated his own already optimistic predictions, saying a vaccine could be available even before the November 3 presidential election.
“We’re a few weeks away from getting it, you know – it could take three weeks, four weeks,” he said in a question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC.
Democrats have expressed concern that Mr. Trump is pressuring government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to aid his reelection bid.
More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development around the world.
He also raised his eyebrows when asked at City Hall why he downplayed the severity of the pandemic in his early months.
“I haven’t played it down,” Trump replied. “In fact, in a lot of ways, I improved it in terms of action.”
But Mr. Trump himself told reporter Bob Woodward in taped interviews that he made a conscious decision to “downplay” to avoid alarming Americans.
The president, who is rarely seen wearing a mask in public and who has long refused to push Americans to adopt the habit, told city hall that “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks and people don’t think that the masks are good. “
The comment was widely criticized, including by Joe Biden, who also slammed Mr. Trump for saying the Democrat refused to institute a mask warrant.
“I’m not the president, it’s the president,” Mr. Biden whispered into the microphone.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants a national mask term.
Mr Trump’s anti-mask message also received some sort of dressing from Mr Redfield, as the CDC director waved a medical mask at senators and said, “I could go so far as to say that this face mask is safer to protect me against Covid. than when I take a Covid vaccine. “
But Mr Trump categorically rejected that claim and noted that he called Mr Redfield to ask him what he meant.
“I think there are a lot of issues with masks,” Mr. Trump said. “It is no more effective than a vaccine.”
Mr. Biden regularly appears at campaign events with a mask and typically takes it off to deliver a speech. Mr. Trump, who lags behind in pre-election polls, mocked Mr. Biden for wearing a mask.
Polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
Australians should stay at least 1.5 meters from others. Check your state’s restrictions on collection limits.
If you have symptoms of a cold or the flu, stay home and arrange for a test by calling your doctor or contacting the coronavirus health information hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages on https://sbs.com.au/ coronavirus
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