As President Trump provided promising updates regarding a coronavirus vaccine, he vowed no new lockdowns under “this administration,” but added only “time will tell” who would be in charge come January.
He said in a news briefing that a coronavirus vaccine would be available to everyone by April, except possibly New York. “We won’t be delivering to New York until we have authorization to do so. It pains me to say that. Governor Cuomo will have to let me know when he's ready for it.”
Cuomo announced in late September that New York would form its own task force to independently review the coronavirus vaccine once it was approved by the FDA.
“I will not go– this administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the, the uh, whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be, I guess time will tell…” Trump continued, offering what some took as coming close to admitting he may not be able to pull off a second term. The president avoided mentioning his opponent Joe Biden by name.
Fox News has called the presidential race for President-elect Joe Biden, but Trump’s team has filed lawsuits in bulk in swing states, alleging potential mass voter fraud and procedural violations in the count. The Trump campaign alleges that Republican observers have been shut out of vote counting rooms in some states.
Earlier, Dr. Celine Gounder, one of Biden’s coronavirus advisors, told CNBC that widespread lockdowns were “not the opinion” of the panel of infectious disease experts advising Biden, but “targeted” lockdowns are on the table.
“We can be much more targeted geographically. We can also be more targeted in terms of what we close,” she said.
Meanwhile, Trump said the Pfizer vaccine would be approved “very much ahead of schedule,” after Pfizer announced Monday that their vaccine candidate was 90 percent effective against Covid-19 in phase 3 trials, and they planned to submit it for Emergency Use Authorization in the third week of November.
“If you had a different administration, what we’ve done would've taken three, four, five years. It would’ve been in the FDA forever,” Trump said. He added that the Covid vaccine would be approved “five times faster” than the fastest vaccine ever developed. Three other vaccine candidates have reached final stages, and Trump said he expects them to be approved for use too.
Trump said the Pfizer vaccine would be offered “free of charge,” first to frontline workers and the elderly and then to the general public.
The president then touted the U.S. economic recovery. “The U.S. experienced the smallest economic contraction and most rapid economic recovery of any Western nation, while healthy Americans have gone back to work and schools. We continue to spare no expense to protect the vulnerable.”