Washington, 6 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested the United States could have a coronavirus vaccine before the presidential election in November, much sooner than health experts have predicted.
Trump said the country could see a vaccine “sooner than the end of the year,” in an interview with the radio station WTAM.
Asked whether it could be before November 3, when Trump stands for reelection, the president answered: “I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time.”
“We have great companies, great, these are the greatest companies in the world,” the president said. “We’re going to have vaccines very soon, we’re going to have therapeutics very soon.”
The government’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, has said a coronavirus vaccine will likely not be “widely available” in the US until several months into 2021.
Trump is trailing his rival, the Democratic candidate Joe Biden, a former vice president, in polls, with voters saying they are disappointed by the US administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president refused to acknowledge any missteps in his handling of the crisis, noting that “governors run their states,” and that some have done better than others.
“I think we’ve done an unbelievable job,” Trump said in the wide-ranging interview, touting efforts to develop a vaccine, his early travel ban on China, and country’s testing capability — despite reports of widespread testing delays in recent weeks.
He also denied that November’s vote would be a referendum on his handling of the outbreak.
“I think it’s a referendum on everything,” Trump said. “What I’ve done nobody’s done in the first three and a half years, whether it’s Space Force, rebuilding our military, building the wall.”
The US has recorded more than 4.8 million coronavirus cases and over 158,000 deaths, far more than any other nation, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The country is suffering a sustained outbreak, with southern and western states in particular having seen a recent surge in infections.
Trump was due to head to Ohio later on Thursday, a state that has seen a rise in its caseload since the start of July.
Fauci on Thursday told broadcaster CNN that a rise in the percentage of people testing positive for the virus in nine US cities, including Washington, Boston and Chicago, was a “predictor of trouble ahead.”