Trump offers update on COVID-19, not on election challenges

Trump offers update on COVID-19, not on election challenges

United States President Donald Trump spoke publicly for the first time in eight days on Friday, offering an update on the administration’s COVID-19 efforts, but saying almost nothing about his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden or his challenges of the results.

In an address from the White House Rose Garden, Trump pledged that the US “won’t go to a lockdown”, even as the novel coronavirus surges across the country.

He seemed to acknowledge, however, that he might not be around in a few months to keep that promise.

“I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown,” he said. “Hopefully the, the – uh – whatever happens in the future – who knows which administration will be. I guess time will tell.”

Trump also said he expects an emergency use authorisation for Pfizer’s vaccine “extremely soon”.

Pfizer has said it expects to report required safety data next week and can then apply for an emergency use authorisation, Reuters News Agency reported.

The remarks came after Trump received an update on “Operation Warp Speed”, an administration effort to speed up the development of a vaccine.

Criticism of the administration’s response to COVID-19, which has killed more than 235,000 Americans, became a rallying cry for Democrats ahead of the November 3 elections.

US networks have proclaimed Biden the winner of the presidential vote, but Trump, refusing to concede, has launched a series of legal challenges based on unsubstantiated claims of fraud.