President Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. will have a vaccination for the coronavirus “before the end of the year or maybe even sooner.”
The announcement was part of Trump’s speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, delivered from the South Lawn of the White House as part of the party’s national convention.
Experts say vaccines can sometimes take decades to develop, test, and be proven safe before they are administered to patients. However, hope has been high that a concerted international effort will produce an effective vaccine sometime next year.
“In recent months our nation and the entire planet has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy,” Trump told the South Lawn audience whose mostly mask-less members were not sitting six feet apart, a measure generally practiced to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. has 5.8 million COVID-19 cases, roughly one-fifth of the world’s more than 24 million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The president has rarely been seen in public wearing a mask, another practice done to stop the spread of the virus.
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World leader in coronavirus cases
The U.S. has more COVID-19 cases than anywhere else. Brazil follows the U.S. with 3.7 million cases and India comes in third with 3.3 million.
India said early Friday that it had recorded 77,266 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily total ever recorded in the South Asian nation.
Wearing masks in public in Paris became mandatory for everyone on Friday. The new measure follows a French public health report that more than 6,000 new infections were recorded Thursday, while 5,000 were recorded Wednesday.
Spain says all school children six years of age and up must wear masks while in school. The announcement comes just days before the beginning of Spain’s school year.
South American vaccine effort
A group of South American leaders has agreed to share information and coordinate access to any vaccine one of them might develop or acquire.
"A joint effort would bring benefits, particularly in terms of access, quantities and guaranteed prices," Chile's foreign minister, Andres Allamand, said after Thursday's virtual meeting of presidents and foreign ministers.
"We in Chile are following the evolution of at least five projects and we have been in contact with some of those laboratories and countries specifically to be able to get access to those vaccines at reasonable prices and as quickly as possible," he said.
London zookeepers say the animals under their care are suffering from what they call the lockdown blues.
The zoo had been closed because of the coronavirus and has just started admitting limited numbers of visitors.
"The Pygmy goats were so used to seeing children during the day that during lockdown they would miss them," Assistant Curator of Mammals Teague Stubbington told Reuters.
"They were actually lining up at the gate to meet people and then at 10 o'clock, when no one was there, they were disappointed."
He says the zoo is badly in need of funds, adding this is the longest period it has been closed since World War II.