WASHINGTON (AP) – Regardless of the challenges ahead, President Donald Trump offered an optimistic outlook on the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine on Friday, in his first public remarks since his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump has yet to acknowledge the results of the election.
Trump delivered his speech from the Rose Garden as the country registers record numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations reach near-critical levels and deaths rise to their highest figures since spring. He noted that vaccines could reach vulnerable populations “in a matter of weeks”, even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to receive requests for an emergency authorization.
Public health experts are concerned that Trump’s refusal to crack down on the pandemic or coordinate with Biden’s team during the last two months of his presidency will only exacerbate the aftermath of the pandemic and hamper the nation’s ability to distribute. promptly a vaccine next year.
While some states imposed new restrictions due to the increase in infections, Trump asked all Americans to remain “vigilant.” But he ruled out a national “lockdown” and apparently acknowledged that the decision will no longer depend on him.
“This government will not go into lockdown,” he said. “We hope, whatever happens in the future, who knows, what administration it will be, I suppose time will tell, but I can tell you that this government will not go into lockdown.”
Biden, for his part, has not supported a nationwide lockdown, but asked Trump to take “urgent action” to curb the spread of the virus. “The crisis does not respect calendar dates, it is accelerating at this very moment,” Biden said in a statement on Friday.
Trump said that the vaccines “will arrive in a few weeks,” and said that they are already ready, that they are only awaiting approval and that they will be applied “immediately to individuals at high risk.” In fact, there is no guarantee that the Pfizer vaccine, which is considered to be ahead of the game, will obtain prompt authorization for emergency use. Even if you get it, there is no information yet to indicate whether the vaccine works in older adults or only in younger, healthier adults. Pfizer also doesn’t have large stocks yet to ship; initial vaccine batches will be small and targeted at populations that have not yet been determined.
Trump did not accept questions from reporters on Friday. Nor has he answered questions since before the election.
Madhani reported from Chicago. Associated Press journalists Jill Colvin, Alexandra Jaffe and Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.
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