President Trump on Tuesday said the coronavirus pandemic was the hardest part of his presidency, but he believes he has done everything possible to slow the spread of the virus.
“I think we did a great job,” Trump told an undecided Pennsylvania voter who asked him about his biggest challenge as president at a town hall with ABC host George Stephanopoulos.
He said the virus taught him “that life is very fragile. I knew people who were powerful people, strong people, good people and they were knocked down by that. “
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Stephanopoulos asked him if he believed he could take more action against the onslaught of the virus.
Much of Philadelphia City Hall has focused on the outbreak, and the president has raised tough questions about his handling of the crisis from both Stephanopoulos and undecided voters.
He told another interlocutor who asked him why he took his “foot off the accelerator” and “threw” people like him with background conditions “under the bus” last May that the administration “worked hard. hard on the pandemic … And if you have looked at what we have done with the ventilators and now, frankly, with the vaccines: we are very close to the vaccine. “
He said a vaccine could be three to four weeks away, though some health experts have questioned the reality of getting a safe and effective vaccine ready for distribution by November.
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He also told Stephanopoulos that the pandemic will eventually disappear even without a vaccine, alluding to herd immunity, the idea that an epidemic will end when the majority of the population is immune. Some experts have warned, however, that a herd immunity strategy could mean more than 1 million deaths.
“I feel like we’ve done an amazing job actually, and it’s something that I don’t think has been recognized as it should,” he said. “But when you look at our tests, when you look at our swabs, when you look at our ventilators, when you look at what we’ve done with hospitals – and we’ve made sure many governors look good, and now some are in arrest and others don’t. We’d love to see it open and reopen as soon as possible. “
He told the voter that he believes the administration’s actions have saved “an enormous number of lives”.
He also told another interlocutor who asked him why he “downplayed” the pandemic that he actually “played it higher in terms of action”.
“What I did was, with China – I put a ban with Europe, I put a ban. And we would have lost thousands of other people if I didn’t put the ban, “he said.” So that was called action, not with the mouth, but a fact. We did a great, great job when we put the ban. “
Earlier this year, Trump told Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward in audio released last week that he “always wanted to downplay”, referring to the pandemic, adding that he wanted to avoid a “panic.”
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Asked by Stephanopoulos if he had any regrets about the virus, Trump said, “No, I think we did a great job. If I’m not done [travel from China], I think you would have 2 million deaths instead of 185,000 – 190,000. It’s a terrible number, one is too many “.
More than 194,000 people have died in the United States from the virus as of Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.