President Trump on Tuesday afternoon shifted his tone on the severity of the pandemic and the need for people to wear facial coverings.
In the past, Trump had claimed coronavirus was “dying out” and “fading away.” But at the first White House briefing on the virus since April, the President said, “Some areas of our country are doing very well, others are doing less well. It (the pandemic) will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better, something I don’t like saying about things but that’s the way it is.”
Trump said Sunbelt states like Florida and Texas are struggling with a high number of cases and that the federal government is doing everything possible to help them.
Trump also shifted gears on facial coverings. When the federal government urged the public to wear masks in April, Trump said he wouldn’t wear one himself. He’s spoken at campaign rallies without a mask. But he’s been seen wearing a face mask in a few instances in recent weeks and on Tuesday he came out strong for social distancing and face masks.
“Get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. And we need everything we can get,” he said.
He said if he were in an elevator with security personnel, he’d wear a mask. He didn’t wear a mask at the podium, but at one point he pulled a mask out of his pocket and said, “When you can, use the mask…. I have no problems with the mask.”
The president specifically urged young Americans to wear masks when they couldn’t social distance, noting that a high number of positive cases are now being found in the 18-35 age group.
Trump spoke and took questions for about 20 minutes without medical professionals Anthony Fauci, MD, or Deborah Birx, MD, on stage. He touched on other points.
Trump says he’s tested for the coronavirus every 2 or 3 days. That contradicted press secretary Kayleigh McEneny, who recently said Trump is tested “multiple times” a day.
Trump said two coronavirus vaccine candidates will enter the final stages of clinical trials this month. He said a number of promising vaccines are already being manufactured so that they can be quickly distributed when they’re approved.
Though he referred to the coronavirus several times as “the China virus,” Trump said he would be happy to work with China if they developed a vaccine before the United States.