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COVID-19: Donald Trump claims to make vaccine by year’s end

Washington: US President Donald Trump expressed confidence that the country would have a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year and revised the number of deaths due to the disease in America up to a minimum of 80,000.

“We are very confident we’re going to have a vaccine at the end of the year, by the end of the year,” Efe news quoted Trump as syaing in a virtual town hall hosted by Fox News on Sunday.

So far, US government health experts had cited January 2021 as the earliest date for a coronavirus vaccine to be available.

“I’ll say what I think … I think we’re going to have a vaccine much sooner rather than later,” he said, without further clarifying.

Asked if he wanted the US to develop the vaccine before any other country, the President replied: “I don’t care, I just want to get a vaccine that works,” adding “if it’s another country I’ll take my hat off.

“We’re so far ahead of any vaccine ever in history.”

Trump also revised his prediction of the number of COVID-19 deaths in the US given that the estimate of 60,000 fatalities he had declared on April 20 has now crossed that mark.

“I used to say 65,000. Now I’m saying 80 (thousand) or 90 (thousand), and it goes up and it goes up rapidly,” said Trump, whose projection exceeds the death toll projection of 72,400 made this week by the University of Washington.

Trump acknowledged that perhaps 90,000 deaths could not be called being “successful” in the fight against coronavirus but said it was preferable to the million or 2 million deaths there would have been without measures restricting movement.

The President also rejected media reports that he ignored several intelligence agencies’ warnings about the severity of the coronavirus in January and February.

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