Donald Trump and Joe Biden have exchanged insults about each other̵
President Trump again hinted that a vaccine might be available before the November presidential election, accusing his Democratic rivals of “reckless rhetoric against vaccines”.
Mr Biden was skeptical that Mr Trump would listen to scientists and put in place a transparent process.
There are six million cases of coronavirus in the US, the highest in the world.
The virus has also claimed nearly 190,000 lives, causing a major recession, double-digit unemployment and falling consumer confidence.
Last week it emerged that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had urged states to consider “waiver requirements” in order to get a vaccine by Nov. 1 – two days before the Sept. 3 elections. November – to distribute.
No vaccine has yet completed clinical trials, causing some scientists to be more afraid of politics than health and safety, which drives the urge for a vaccine.
Both Mr Biden and his colleague Kamala Harris have questioned the President’s credibility on the matter. Ms. Harris said Sunday she wouldn’t trust Mr. Trump’s word that a vaccine was safe, and Mr. Biden also asked if the general public would trust him too.
“He said so many things that are not true. I worry that if we have a really good vaccine, people will not be ready to take it,” Biden said on Labor Day Monday in Pennsylvania .
But he added, “If I could get a vaccine tomorrow, I would. If it cost me a choice, I would do it. We need a vaccine, and we need it now. We have to listen to the scientists.”
Mr. Trump, lagging behind in the polls, hit back at a White House press conference calling Mr. Biden “stupid” and Ms. Harris “the most liberal person in Congress … not a competent person in my opinion”.
He said they were “destroying this country and destroying this economy” adding that they should “immediately apologize for the inconsiderate anti-vaccine rhetoric they are talking about.”
The president, who intermittently urged journalists to remove their face masks when they asked questions, again suggested that a vaccine could be ready by the next month. “We’re going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date.”
Mr Trump wants to stock 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January and has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to expedite the development of a vaccine that, under normal circumstances, could take years.
The American expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it was unlikely but “not impossible” that a vaccine could get approval in October, and Stephen Hahn of the Food and Drug Administration said it was “appropriate” to approve a vaccine before clinical trials are complete when the benefits outweigh the risks.
But both scientists and the White House and the executives of five leading pharmaceutical companies have made it clear that there will be no compromise on the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine.
Three vaccine trials in the US are in the final stages – each involving 30,000 people who are shot three weeks apart and then monitored for coronavirus infections and side effects between a week and two years, the Associated Press reports.