As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 nears 100,000, President Donald Trump on Wednesday traveled to the battleground state of Florida to witness the first takeoff of American astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years — but he began his day on Twitter, claiming Democrats and the news media are trying to make him look “slow” in responding to the pandemic and shifting focus to what he called a milestone — on testing.
Notably, despite the U.S. having completed the highest number of tests, there are several countries with higher levels of testing per capita.
He met Wednesday morning in the Oval Office with New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was photographed entering the White House wearing a mask, something Trump has declined to do before cameras and questioned why his political opponent Joe Biden has done so.
As he continues his push to reopen the country, when asked at an afternoon Rose Garden news conference on Tuesday what message he had for those flouting restrictions, Trump replied, “Be safe,” saying nothing more, declining to criticize them.
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Here are Wednesday’s most significant developments in Washington:
- Trump met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York in the Oval Office; Cuomo arrived at he White House wearing a mask
- In the afternoon, Trump, Pence and the first lady departed the White House for Florida to view the SpaceX launch
- In the evening, Trump delivers remarks at the Kennedy Space Center
- House GOP leaders are suing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to stop remote voting by proxy during the pandemic
- House votes are expected this week to change parts of the Paycheck Protection Program
- How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
Fauci says there is a good chance a COVID-19 vaccine would be deployable by the end of 2020
The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, appearing on CNN Wednesday morning, said that there is a good chance that a vaccine for coronavirus would be deployable by the end of the year.
“I still think that we have a good chance — if all the things fall in the right place — that we might have a vaccine that would be deployable by the end of the year,” Fauci said.
He underscored that the process to develop a vaccine is not a smooth one.
“There are a lot of landmines and hiccups that occur,” Fauci said.
The infectious disease expert also emphasized that the rapid development of a vaccine would not come “at the expense of safety nor scientific integrity.”
Asked about France’s ban of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment, Fauci said he’s “not so sure” it should be banned, “but clearly the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy.”
He pointed out that recent studies had shown that dangerous side effects from hydroxychloroquine “might be rare, but you’d see it, adverse events, particularly with regard to cardiovascular.”
— ABC News’ Elizabeth Thomas