Speaking at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday, the US President also expressed his support for a state-by-state lockdown exit in order to get the country’s economy back on track. “I think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of the year,” Trump told the moderators, Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, saying he was “very confident” in the assessment.
“We’ll have a vaccine much sooner rather than later.”
Asked by Ms MacCallum if he was concerned about the potential risks of accelerating a vaccine and human trials, Trump responded: “No, because they’re volunteers. They know what they’re getting into … They want to help the process.”
Trump’s claims contradicted previous advice by public and private science experts, who said developing a vaccine could take up to 18 months.
However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this weekend having a vaccine by January was “doable if things fall in the right place.”
Trump also said the US would be self-reliant for the production of antibiotics, to avoid depending on China.
Republicans have labelled the US dependency on China for essential goods as “crazy”.
Donald Trump claims vaccine could be ready by December
For economic efforts, Trump has allowed each governor manage the crisis accordingly, asking them to take their own approach on reopening their state’s economy.
“It’s going to pass,” he said, repeatedly referring to the pandemic as the “plague.”
He then claimed that Democrats and media organizations, who have criticised him for suggesting hydroxychloroquine could have a positive outcome in the fight against Covid-19 “don’t want to see a good result.”
According to media outlets an Arizona couple had ingested fish tank cleaner because they believed it contained hydroxychloroquine.
The woman in that case, who claimed she was following Trump’s advice despite openly attacking Trump on social media, is now under criminal investigation for her husband’s death by poison.
The US President appeared at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday
“I’m standing up there and instead of a normal question, the level of anger and hatred. I’ll look at them, I’ll say ‘what is your problem?'” Trump said at the town hall, referring to how the media approached him during White House coronavirus briefings.
Joe Biden, media organisation and other Democrats, Trump claimed, had initially portrayed his January travel restrictions on China as xenophobic, before switching opinions.
When Mr Baier asked Trump about a recent Biden tweet saying Trump had left the US “unprepared” for a pandemic, Trump refuted it immediately.
Trump said: “Joe Biden didn’t write that,
“That was written by a young man who got very good grades in school.”
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Speaking of China’s handling of the crisis Trump said: “I think, personally, they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it”.
He claimed that China had misled the World Health Organization (WHO), whose funding he withdrew last month.
Trump accused the world body of copying China’s information about the virus, leaving the global unaware of the extent of the situation.
A investigative dossier created by the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance reportedly concludes China purposely covered evidence of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is supports US conclusions about the origins of the outbreak so far, senior US officials told Fox News on Saturday.
Protesters in Michigan stormed the state capitol to oppose the stay-at-home measures
Sunday’s town hall event was entitled “America Together: Returning to Work” and addressed questions submitted by viewers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
The US leader faced several protests over the past few days concerning the stringent lockdown measures.
One of the demonstrations saw protesters in Michigan storming the state capitol to oppose the stay-at-home measures.
“A lot of people want to go back,” Trump told the moderators.
“You see demonstrations all over the country – and those are meaningful demonstrations. … Now we have to get it open. We have to get it open safely, but we have to get it open as quickly as possible.”