He says virus could ‘go away by itself’.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine may be available within a month but added that the pandemic could go away by itself.
“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania. “We’re within weeks of getting it you know — could be three weeks, four weeks.”
Only hours earlier, speaking to Fox News, Mr. Trump had said a vaccine could come in “four weeks, it could be eight weeks”.
Democrats have expressed concern that Mr. Trump is putting pressure on government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help turn around his uphill bid for reelection.
At the town hall, Mr. Trump was asked why he’d downplayed the gravity of the pandemic, which has now killed close to 2,00,000 people in the U.S.
Mr. Trump replied by saying: “I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.”
But Mr. Trump himself told journalist Bob Woodward during taped interviews for the new book Rage that he had deliberately decided to “play it down” to avoid alarming Americans.
Returning to one of his most controversial views on the virus, Mr. Trump insisted “it is going to disappear.” “It would go away without the vaccine but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it.”
Challenged about how the virus would go away by itself, Mr. Trump said “you’ll develop like a herd mentality,” apparently meaning the concept of herd immunity, when enough people have developed resistance to the virus to effectively stop transmission.