President Donald Trump finally admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic would get worse in the US before getting better after months of resisting making a nationwide call for masks and pushing for schools and businesses to reopen.
“It will get worse before it gets better,” Trump said during a briefing Tuesday of the resurgence of the coronavirus across the country. “That’s something I don’t like saying but it is.”
The president also urged people in the US to wear a mask for the first time during a live press conference, though he did not issue a national mandate.
“We’re asking everybody that, when you’re not able to socially distance, wear a mask,” Trump said. “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They have an effect. We need everything we can get.”
This was the first time Trump has spoken at a White House task force coronavirus update since April.
The president started the press conference by referring to the virus as the “China virus,” a phrase many have pointed out is offensive, and later blamed China for not stopping the spread of the pandemic.
While Trump praised himself for shutting down travel into the US earlier in the pandemic, he didn’t mention the administration’s failures, such as its inability to equip doctors with protective gear as the virus spread earlier this year.
Trump also made no mention of his efforts to reopen the US economy despite the uncertainty of the virus.
There have been 3.8 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 140,000 deaths of infected patients in the US since the start of the pandemic.
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