WASHINGTON - The White House says President Donald Trump will announce a “major therapeutic breakthrough” Sunday night for the treatment of coronavirus, the pandemic that has killed more than 176,000 people in the U.S. and infected nearly 5.7 million, more than in any other country across the world.
Trump’s announcement is coming a day after he accused, without evidence, “the deep state, or whoever” at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of “making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.”
The U.S. leader claimed, without evidence, in a Twitter remark that officials at the drug regulatory agency “obviously … are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd,” the date of his re-election contest against Democrat Joe Biden. “Must focus on speed, and saving lives!"
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said late Saturday that Health and Human Resources Secretary Alex Azar and FDA chief Stephen Hahn would attend the announcement with Trump, a day ahead of the start of the Republican National Convention, where Trump will be renominated for a second four-year term.
Numerous U.S. health experts have said that a coronavirus vaccine will not be available before the end of the year or into early 2021, and then only if tests on the efficacy of the vaccine now starting in several countries, including the U.S., prove successful.
Trump, mindful of accusations from Biden and opposition Democrats that he has bungled the handling of the coronavirus in the U.S., has often said that treatment for the infectious disease is nearing and has contended that the virus will simply disappear.
He has acknowledged that his re-election chances would be helped with a medical breakthrough before Election Day.
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As he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination last week, former Vice President Biden said, “After all this time, this president still doesn’t have a plan” to fight the pandemic. “He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, on the “Fox News Sunday” show, defended Trump’s tweet complaining about the pace of testing overseen by the FDA.
“We’re not going to cut corners on research,” Meadows said. “We are going to cut the red tape. I applaud the president for putting out the tweet.”
A Biden supporter, Delaware Senator Chris Coons, said in a separate Fox interview that Trump has “failed to act responsibly” in dealing with the coronavirus.
“He’s lost on the highway and refuses to ask for directions,” Coons contended. “Donald Trump failed to confront this pandemic.”