President Trump said Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic had been the toughest part of his presidency, but he believes he did everything he could to slow the spread of the virus.
“I think we did a very good job,” Trump told an undecided Pennsylvania voter who asked him during a town hall with ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos about his greatest challenge as president.
He said the virus taught him “that life is very fragile. I knew people who were powerful people, strong people, good people, and they got blown away by it. “
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Stephanopoulos asked him if he felt he could do more against the onslaught of the virus.
Much of the Philadelphia City Hall was focused on the outbreak, and the president asked both Stephanopoulos and the undecided voters tough questions about how to manage the crisis.
He told another questioner who asked him why he “took his foot off the accelerator” last May and “threw” people like him “under the bus” with the underlying conditions that the administration was “very tough on the pandemic worked … and if you’ve looked at what we’ve done with ventilators and now, frankly, with vaccines – we’re about to get the vaccine. “
He said a vaccine could be three or four weeks away – although some health experts have questioned the reality of having a safe and effective vaccine ready for distribution by November.
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He also told Stephanopoulos that at some point the pandemic would go away even without a vaccine, which alludes to herd immunity, the idea that an outbreak will end when much of the population is immune. However, some experts have warned that a herd immunity strategy could mean more than 1 million deaths.
“I feel like we did a really great job and I don’t think it got recognized the way it should,” he said. “But when you look at our tests, when you look at our swabs, when you look at our ventilators, when you look at what we’ve done to hospitals – and we’ve made a lot of governors look very good, and now some are in a shutdown and others not. We want it to open and open as soon as possible. “
He told the voter that he believed the government’s actions saved “an enormous number of lives”.
He also told another questioner who asked him why he “downplayed” the pandemic that he actually “upplayed it in relation to the action.”
“What I did was with China – I put a ban with Europe, I put a ban. And we would have lost thousands more people if I hadn’t put the ban, ”he said. “So that was called an action, not by mouth, but an actual fact. We did a very, very good job introducing this ban. “
Earlier this year, Trump told Washington Post assistant editor Bob Woodward in an audio released last week that he “always wanted to downplay it,” referring to the pandemic.
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When asked by Stephanopoulos if he regretted the virus, Trump said, “No, I think we did a great job. If I didn’t close [travel from China]I think you’d have 2 million deaths instead of the 185,000-190,000. It’s a terrible number – one is too many. “
More than 194,000 people died from the virus in the United States on Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.