President Trump on Tuesday said the coronavirus is "going to go away," repeating a line he's said in the past that contradicts his own health experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration's leading infectious diseases expert, has said the deadly virus will not disappear, and the U.S. should be prepared for another wave in fall.
Mr. Trump, making the remarks in an East Room event with businesses that turned into a press conference, said a vaccine is looking promising, but he thinks the virus is going to go away, and if it does return in a "modified" form in fall the U.S. will handle it.
CBS News White House correspondent Ben Tracy asked, "Mr. President, you said at the top of your remarks that you feel the worst of the pandemic is behind us. But without a treatment, without a vaccine, and states now reopening, how can you be so sure?"
The president responded: "Well I think that like other things, we're going to hopefully we're going to come up with a vaccine, you never know about a vaccine, but tremendous progress has been made. Johnson & Johnson and Oxford and lots of good things, you've been hearing the same things as I do. Tremendous progress has been made, we think, on a vaccine. You always have to say think and then you have to test it, and that takes a period of time. But uh, a lot of movement and a lot of progress has been made on a vaccine. But I think what happens is it's going to go away. This is going to go away. And whether it comes back in a modified form in the fall, we'll be able to handle it, we'll be able to put out spurts, and we're very prepared to handle it. We've learned a lot, we've learned a lot about it, the invisible enemy."
It isn't exactly clear from the president's remarks when he thinks the virus will go away.
Mr. Trump said on February 27 he though the virus would "disappear". There were only 60 confirmed cases in the U.S. at the time of that remarks. He also stood by the claim that the virus would go away on April 3, when there were 273,880 cases.
"I said it was going away — and it is going away," he said earlier this month.
At a, Fauci said "we will have coronavirus in the fall."
"I am convinced of that because of the degree of — of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we are able to contain it when it occurs," he continued. "And what we are saying is that in the fall we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter."
At a different White House briefing this month, Fauci said he's hopeful about the reopening of schools this fall, but reminded Americans the virus isn't going to disappear.
"It's going to be different, remember now, because this is not going to disappear," Fauci said.