Global report: Trump says Covid-19 will ‘go away without vaccine’
Donald Trump met Republican members of Congress in the State Dining Room of the White House, saying he expects US coronavirus deaths of 95,000 or more.
He also said coronavirus will “go away without a vaccine” and is expecting 95,000 or more deaths in the US, as Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for coronavirus.
The president’s comments, at an event with Republican lawmakers, capped a horror week in the US, in which it was revealed unemployment had risen to 14.7%, up from 3.5% in February, with 20 million people losing their jobs in April.
The news that Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller had Covid-19, having recently tested negative, again brought the danger of the virus to the White House inner circle. Katie Miller is married to the White House immigration adviser and speech writer Stephen Miller. On Thursday one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive to the virus.
The president again appeared to reset expectations for the final US death toll, saying he expected 95,000 or more to die. The current toll stands at just over 77,000, with nearly 1.3 million infections, including nearly 29,000 new infections added to the count on Friday.
The US state department on Friday accused China and Russia of stepping up cooperation to spread false narratives over the coronavirus pandemic, saying Beijing was increasingly adopting techniques honed by Moscow.
“Even before the Covid-19 crisis we assessed a certain level of coordination between Russia and the PRC in the realm of propaganda,” said Lea Gabrielle, coordinator of the state department’s global engagement centre which tracks foreign propaganda.
“But with this pandemic the cooperation has accelerated rapidly,” she told reporters, in a continuing war of words between Washington and Beijing.
Leaders of the US congressional foreign affairs committees weighed in by writing to nearly 60 countries asking them to support Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization, citing the need for the broadest effort possible to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The move is likely to further inflame Sino-US relations as Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, and has been excluded from the WHO, due to objections from China, which considers Taiwan to be part of its territory.
Taiwan has been seeking to join a ministerial meeting this month of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, with backing from Washington and several US allies. Taiwan has argued that its exclusion from the WHO has created a dangerous gap in the global fight against the coronavirus.