IS A VACCINE ON THE HORIZON?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 31, 2020) — On Friday President Trump gave a coronavirus update from Belleair, FL, where he was visiting a testing site and observing preparedness in the wake of oncoming Hurricane Isaias, which is currently over the Bahamas.
He said Florida has opened five new COVID-19 testing centers and that nearly 60 million tests have been conducted nationwide.
Trump declared that the U.S. is “very close” to having a vaccine for the virus and that when it is available, the military will assist in distributing it domestically. “We have a lot of great things in the pipeline,” he added of developing therapeutics.
He said doctors and nurses have shown “great bravery” in combating the virus and repeated his position that schools should open in the fall. “I think this will end, hopefully very soon…” he said, then asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to comment.
DeSantis said the hurricane is currently tracking closer to Florida than before and encouraged residents of Brevard and Volusia Counties to stock up on enough medicines and food to last seven days. DeSantis said he will be providing updates on the storm frequently over the weekend and thanked the Trump administration for its support.
Florida is receiving more Remdesivir from the federal government, DeSantis said, given the state’s surge in cases over the last few weeks.
He said those recovering from COVID may test “positive” for up to 12 weeks after showing symptoms and that test results sometimes take 7-10 days.
Sen. Rick Scott, who previously served as Florida’s governor, thanked Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar for their support with past hurricanes, COVID and the coming hurricane.
Azar said the hurricane response will be different “because of COVID,” explaining that remaining at home is now recommended over evacuating.
He emphasized that the administration is calling upon those who have recovered from COVID to donate plasma at a Red Cross center to assist those who are ill.
Earlier on Friday, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to a House subcommittee that he is “cautiously optimistic” a vaccine will be available by the end of the year, as he had stated in late May.