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Trump reassures local officials over coronavirus response

Tips for traveling amid coronavirus chaos
Tips for traveling amid coronavirus chaos 04:05

Washington — President Trump told an enthusiastic crowd at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington on Tuesday that his administration is working closely with state and county health officials to tackle the deadly coronavirus, which has claimed six lives in the U.S.

"Six weeks ago, eight weeks ago, you never heard of this. All of a sudden it's got the world aflutter," the president told the crowd.  "Things happen that you never would even think would happen."

The president told the crowd that therapies, by which he meant therapeutic treatments, are coming soon, and they're "sort of another word for cure." Therapeutic treatments aren't cures, but are meant to alleviate symptoms for patients. Pharmaceutical executives said in a White House meeting Monday that they hope therapeutic treatments will be available in the coming months, before a vaccine is available. 

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday night that a vaccine could be available at the end of the year or early next year. That's still an optimistic prediction, since top health officials have suggested a 12- to 18-month timeline for a vaccine to be available to the general public. 

The president is also visiting the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Tuesday, as the administration pushes for a vaccine to be developed as swiftly as possible. 

Many of those who attended the president's speech were clearly supportive of him, even though the event is nonpartisan, and at one point a "four more years" chant broke out. 

"This is a pretty wild group you have here," the president joked, saying this wasn't a political event, even as he wove politics into his speech. 

The president began his speech by expressing his condolences for the victims of the deadly tornadoes in Tennessee, and saying he will visit the state Friday. At least 19 people are dead after tornadoes ravaged the state. 

Mr. Trump began his morning bashing Mike Bloomberg on Super Tuesday, as Bloomberg tries to find his footing. With three endorsements of former opponents, Joe Biden appears to be rising, and Bernie Sanders is polling strongly in some of the states with the most delegates at stake. 

"Mini Mike Bloomberg can never recover from his incompetent debate performances. Also, as mayor he was very bad under pressure - a choker!" the president tweeted Tuesday morning. 

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