President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participated in a roundtable briefing at the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center Tuesday afternoon amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus in the United States and around the world.
After remarks by Fauci, Mr. Trump said he thought they had made "tremendous progress."
"I know you're dealing with other nations to help them out because they really got hit, some of them very badly, and we're talking to them also and we're making decisions about whether we're allowed to travel there or not to travel there," Mr. Trump said.
The president said in a meeting with pharmaceutical executives Monday that "we're talking about a vaccine, maybe even a cure," although it's unclear how there could be a cure for a virus.
Mr. Trump's NIH visit comes after Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the president's coronavirus task force, and other top health officials briefed reporters on the administration's latest efforts to contain the outbreak on Monday. He announced that all direct flights to the U.S. from airports in Italy and South Korea will be screened for the virus. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers say they're close to a deal on supplemental funding to combat the virus.
Top health officials said the current timeline for a vaccine's availability to the public is likely the end of this year or beginning of next.
The new disease has killed nine people in the U.S. so far, all of them in the state of Washington. There were over 120 cases in 16 states as of Tuesday afternoon, with new cases announced in New Hampshire, Georgia and North Carolina.
President Trump will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta on Friday.
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