States like Arizona, Florida and Texas are seeing their highest number of new coronavirus cases yet

By Eric Todisco
June 18, 2020 12:02 PM
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President Donald Trump
| Credit: Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty

Donald Trump said Wednesday he was confident that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will "fade away" even if a vaccine is not created.

“We’re very close to a vaccine and we’re very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics," the president, 74, told Fox News. "But even without that, I don’t even like to talk about that, because it’s fading away, it’s going to fade away. But having a vaccine would be really nice and that’s going to happen.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Trump has argued the virus would go away.

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” he said in late February, weeks before his tone about the coronavirus became sharply more serious.

His remarks to Fox News this week come as several states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, are seeing their highest number of new coronavirus cases yet. The national average of daily cases is also trending upward, according to a New York Times tracker.

A vaccine, meanwhile, is not expected to be available until the beginning of 2021 at the earliest, according to many of the nation's top doctors, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force.

As of Thursday morning, the novel coronavirus had killed at least 117,743 people in the U.S., according to the Times, while at least 2.16 million confirmed cases of the virus have been reported nationwide.

Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, has expressed concern that stay-at-home orders have been lifted too quickly in certain states, undercutting the effectiveness of social distancing in slowing new infections.

"I think there certainly were states that did not strictly follow the guidelines that we put out about opening America again," Fauci told NPR's 1A program on Tuesday, adding, "Clearly, there were states who, left to their own decision about that, went ahead and opened to a varying degree, maybe even — I wouldn't say 'too soon' — but certainly before they got to the benchmarks they needed to get."

Dr. Anthony Fauci (left) and President Donald Trump during the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 13.
| Credit: MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

Fauci has also said that he is "cautiously optimistic" that one of the ongoing coronavirus vaccine trials will prove successful in the U.S.and that the country would have a “couple of hundred million doses” by early 2021.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that with the multiple candidates that we have with different platforms, that we're going to have a vaccine that shows a degree of efficacy that would make it deployable," he told CNN earlier this month.

But unlike Fauci, Trump and his administration have seemingly put less priority on the coronavirus in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence said worry about a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was "overblown," in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.

Pence, who is the head of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, argued in his op-ed that "the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells" about a second wave of the virus.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.