DONALD Trump has claimed the coronavirus outbreak was the result of a “horrible mistake” in China after claiming he’d seen evidence the virus originated in a Wuhan lab.
The president added the Chinese communist regime then tried to cover up their Covid-19 blunder — but “couldn’t put out the fire”.
In a Fox News interview Trump was asked whether there was enough evidence that China had misled the world about the deadly virus.
He replied: “Personally, I think they made a horrible mistake, and they didn’t want to admit it.
“We wanted to go in, but they didn’t want us there. They made a mistake, they tried to cover it, like a fire… They couldn’t put out the fire.”
He said the US government was now putting together a “strong” report on the origins of the virus, and how the Wuhan Institute of Virology could well have been involved.
The report, he promised, would be “very conclusive”.
Trump’s comments came after he told reporters he had seen proof that would suggest the virus originated in the lab, but said he could not go into details.
The US intelligence community has said it believes that the novel coronavirus was not “manmade or genetically modified” but was still probing whether it was caused by “an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan”.
He also said he was “very confident” a coronavirus vaccine will be ready “by the end of the year”.
But warned that up to 100,000 people could die in the US from the pandemic.
He explained: “Look, a vaccine has never gone like it’s gone now. We’re so far ahead of any vaccine ever in history.
“These things would take two, four, five, six, ten years… I think we’re going to have a vaccine.
“I’m telling you, by the end of the year… we are very confident we are going to have a vaccine.”
When asked if he thinks another country could beat the US to the breakthrough, Trump admitted he was unsure.
“I don’t care. I just want to get a vaccine that works. I really don’t care,” he said.
“If it’s another country, I’ll take my hat off to them. We have to come up with a vaccine.”
In the same segment, Trump also said the US death toll could reach 80,000 to 90,000 – up from the 60,000 figure he’d stated in recent weeks.
They made a mistake, they tried to cover it, like a fire
Praising his team’s response to the virus, Trump said: “That’s one of the reasons we’re successful, if you call losing 80 or 90,000 people successful.”
When asked why his prediction had gone up, he said: “I used to say 65,000 and now I’m saying 80 or 90 and it goes up and it goes up rapidly.”
Later in the town hall, Trump went higher: “We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this.”
But he said had he not shutdown the country, the US would have lost “a million two, a million four, a million five, that’s the minimum. We would have lost probably higher, it’s possible higher than 2.2.”
The president also revealed he’d recently talked to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who he called a “victim of what happened”.
“He thought it was over. It was vicious. He’s a great guy and he made it,” Trump said, adding that Boris had the “ultimate first-hand experience.”
Trump referred to Covid-19 as “the plague” during the interview, but insisted it is “going to pass.”
His prediction comes days after experts warned that a Covid-19 vaccine may not be ready until 2036 – despite Chinese scientists saying one may be available as soon as the end of this summer.
Trump’s vaccine prediction came as:
- ‘Enormous evidence’ coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab
- New stimulus that would send $2,000 to Americans gains support
- Essential workers could pocket $25,000 in hazard pay
- Coronavirus symptoms day-by-day – when to expect
Researchers have been racing to create a vaccine for the deadly virus, as global cases surpassed 3.5million with more than 245,000 deaths.
As Trump spoke briefly about the benefits of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in the fight against coronavirus, he also reminded Baier and MacCallum how some media outlets previously alleged he owned the drug company.
He said: “Here’s what we’ve been reduced to in this country. The Democrats, the radical left … would rather see people not get well because they think I’m going to get credit, if hydroxychloroquine works.”
Trump added: “I have nothing to do with hydroxychloroquine. Other then, if it worked, it would be great.”
Doctors in the US recently claimed that the controversial malaria drug does help patients diagnosed with coronavirus.
In another stab against the media, while seated just below the national monument, Trump claimed he’s been treated worse than former president Abraham Lincoln – who was assassinated in 1865.
“I am greeted with a hostile press… the likes of which no president has ever seen,” he said.
“The closest would be that gentleman right up there. They always said Lincoln, nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.”
Trump continued: “They come at me with questions that are disgraceful, to be honest.
“Their manner of presentation and their words. I feel if I was kind to them, I’d be walked off the stage.
“I mean, they come at you with the most horrible, horrendous, biased questions.”
The need for a cure or vaccine comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the US has now reached nearly 1.2million.
Traditionally, effective vaccines have taken upwards of a decade to create – from the beginning of research, to clinical trials, manufacturing, and distribution.
Timelines created by the New York Times show that through all the typical research and approvals, it would take around 16 years before a successful vaccine were widely available.
As the virus continues to batter the world, however, researchers have been desperately trying to expedite the process to just a fraction of the time – to around 12 to 18 months, instead.
“If you want to make that 18-month timeframe, one way to do that is put as many horses in the race as you can,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine told the New York Times Opinion.
Experts at the University of Oxford said last week that they began human trials of a vaccine – and will know if it’s successful by mid-June.
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Other Chinese scientists said that a vaccine will be ready by September – in time for a second wave of the virus that many experts have anticipated.
Coronavirus Task Force Expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that as the FDA moves with “lightning speed,” hundreds of millions of doses of a Covid-19 vaccine may be ready by next year.
Experts and the FDA take extra caution in approving vaccines at a quick rate.
In 1955, in what’s become known as “The Cutter Incident,” more than 200,000 US children were given a polio vaccine that was meant contain an inactive version of the virus.
However, the process which would deactivate the virus was defective, and more than 40,000 children ended up contracting polio, according to a study in the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
The incident left 200 children paralyzed, and 10 died.
Researchers at Oxford have said 100 million doses of the virus could be ready this year – if trials are successful.
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