Donald Trump said on Friday that he believes the novel coronavirus will fade away on its own without a vaccine, but his own experts say this isn’t the case.
While speaking with the press on Friday at the White House, he weighed in on the idea of whether a vaccine was necessary to end the COVID-19 pandemic, as The Washington Post reports.
“I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests: This is going to go away without a vaccine,” Trump said. “It’s going to go away, and we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time.”
Trump has faced criticism for what people see as his lack of robust effort to create a nationwide testing system. This criticism ramped up in recent days after it was revealed that the White House is engaging in dedicated testing after several employees who work for government leaders tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Trump himself is reportedly tested every day.
Meanwhile, the president has downplayed the importance of testing, saying that it “isn’t necessary,” as The Washington Post reported in a separate story.
The president insisted on Friday that COVID-19 would go away eventually without a vaccine because other diseases in the past have done so.
“There are some viruses or flus that came and they went for a vaccine, and they never found the vaccine,” Trump said. “And they’ve disappeared. They never showed up again. They die, too, like everything else.”
When pushed to explain his comments, he said that he didn’t think it would be gone by the fall or even this year, but eventually it would go away on its own.
“At some point it’s going to probably go away by itself. If we had a vaccine that would be very helpful,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has said that both testing and a vaccination are likely necessary if the country ever wants to return to a life similar to before the pandemic hit the planet.
He recently said that the situation won’t be over until the world has a “scientifically sound, safe and effective vaccine.”
He conceded that good treatments could allow states to have the ability to ease on social distancing guidelines, but a vaccine is the best way to get back to normal life prior to the pandemic.
Trump himself has said that the country “needs” a vaccine and suggested that it could be available by the end of the year, though Fauci says that January is the best-case scenario.