As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the US, Donald Trump has said he is "all for" people wearing masks. Tradefair brings you the latest from US politics...
I'm all for masks. I think masks are good. People have seen me wearing one."
- Donald Trump
Donald Trump, having previously resisted the idea that people should wear face coverings in public to slow the spread of coronavirus, has now said he is "all for masks".
The president's comments came as the US witnessed a new record high of 52,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in a single day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Earlier this week, Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it's possible that the number of new cases could increase to 100,000 per day.
A shift in tone
Speaking to Fox Business Network yesterday, Trump said: "I'm all for masks. I think masks are good. People have seen me wearing one."
When he was asked directly if he would be prepared to wear a face covering himself, the president responded: "If I were in a tight situation with people I would, absolutely."
This marks a change in tone from comments he made earlier this year. When the US Centers for Disease Control first recommended in April that people should cover their faces in public to help curb the spread of coronavirus, Trump said: "I don't think I'm going to be doing it."
He added: "Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens - I just don't see it."
During his interview this week, Trump also reiterated his hope that the Covid-19 pandemic would "just disappear" and spoke confidently about the American economy's ability to recover from the crisis.
"We're headed back in a very strong fashion," the president said. "I think we're going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that, at some point, that's going to, sort of, just disappear, I hope."
Trump also predicted that "we will have a vaccine very soon too".
The president's optimistic outlook was at odds with comments made by Dr Fauci during a US Senate hearing this week, when he said he was "very concerned" about the current trend of growth in new coronavirus cases.
He said it's clear the country is "not in control" of the outbreak.
Asked by senator Elizabeth Warren to put a number on how many deaths and infections the US can expect to see "before this is all over", Dr Fauci said he couldn't make an accurate prediction, but "it is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that".
"Because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable," he continued.
"We can't just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk."
On the subject of a vaccine, Dr Fauci said even if one becomes available by early next year, it's unlikely that it would lead to total immunity to Covid-19 across the country. He said this was partly due to the "general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country".
Positive developments in the race to find a vaccine boosted stock markets this week.
American pharma giant Pfizer announced that its collaboration with German biotech firm BioNTech had shown positive results and the vaccine it was working on was well-tolerated in early human trials.
This contributed to increases on two of the major Wall Street indices. The Nasdaq Composite rose by 0.95% on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 was up by 0.5%.
Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, said the news from Pfizer was "certainly an impetus for the market to move even higher".
"But in general it is this very positive momentum, looking beyond this re-spreading of the virus, looking beyond that to eventual treatments, [an] eventual vaccine and eventual safe openings of the economy," he added.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 3% on Monday and Tuesday, but was down by 0.3% on Wednesday.
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