Washington, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States, the global center of the coronavirus pandemic, must prepare for continuing increases in cases and deaths in the coming weeks.
“Today, I want to provide an update on our response to the China virus, and what my administration is doing to get the outbreak in the Sunbelt under control. Seems largely in Sunbelt but could be spreading,” he said, referring to the southern tier of the US.
“Some areas of country doing very well, others doing less well. It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better,” the president said during the first formal Covid-19 briefing at the White House since April.
“That’s something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is, it’s what we have,” he said. “You look over the world, it’s all over the world.”
“We’ve saved potentially millions of lives with the initial shutdowns but now we’re very aware of this disease. We understand the disease to a large extent. Nobody’s going to maybe ever fully understand it. But we’ll end up with a cure, we’ll end up with therapeutics, we’ll end up with a vaccine very soon,” Trump said.
The virus has claimed nearly 142,000 lives in the US and the number of confirmed infections is approaching 3.9 million, according to the independent tally maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
Florida, the third-most-populous US state, has experienced an explosive spread of Covid-19 in the last month.
While both Texas and Florida saw their rolling seven-day average deaths tolls reach new highs this week.
In a departure from the earlier coronavirus task force briefings, where Trump was joined by Cabinet members and the government’s medical experts, he faced reporters alone on Tuesday.
The president also adopted a more sober tone about the crisis, endorsing mask-wearing and social distancing after months of appearing to treat those approaches with disdain.
On Monday, Trump tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask and extolling the practice as “patriotic.”
“We’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask. Get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They’ll have an effect, and we need everything we can get,” the president said Tuesday.
And after pressing insistently for months to re-open the country, he said that the White House is “imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded, indoor gatherings.”
“Be safe and be smart,” Trump added.
A reporter asked the president about the absence from the briefing of medical experts such as Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the Covid-19 response, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Dr. Birx is right outside,” Trump responded. EFE