President Trump said Wednesday that the novel coronavirus would eventually be “eradicated” with or without a vaccine so that Americans and businesses could return to normal life and operations.

“If you don’t have a vaccine, if the virus is gone, we are like we were before,” Trump told reporters Wednesday at the White House. “Having a vaccine would be a great thing, and I think we are going to get there in this case.”

“I want to get back with or without,” the president said of the need to relax coronavirus restrictions and reopen the country. “But obviously we have to wait until it is gone. And it will be gone.”

Pressed on why he believed the virus would be gone without a vaccine, Trump said it would be “eradicated” but did not go into further detail.

“It’s going to go. It’s going to leave. It’s going to be gone. It’s going to be eradicated,” the president said.

Trump has previously suggested that the virus would go away, contradicting public health experts who say the virus will persist and that Americans will not be able to safely return to normal until the United States has a vaccine. A vaccine is not expected for another year or more.

Trump spoke to reporters during a meeting with executives from Hilton, Toyota, Waffle House and other companies to discuss steps businesses are taking as they look to restart operations amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened more than 1 million Americans but is showing signs of easing as case numbers and death counts level off.

A number of states have issued plans to begin gradually reopening businesses in order to restart the economy, steps that Trump cheered on Wednesday. The president said he hoped to see restaurants and stadiums operating at full capacity, though he did not provide a specific timetable of when he thought that should happen and emphasized the need for safety.

“Target date is as soon as possible. Some states are already opened,” Trump said.

“We’ve got to wait until it’s gone, and it will be gone,” the president later added. “We’ve done a lot to get rid of it. But we want to open our country. The people want our country open.”

Trump has been eager for states to loosen coronavirus stay-at-home orders in order to revive the economy, which has forced businesses to close and resulted in millions of layoffs.

The White House earlier this month released guidelines to inform states’ reopening plans that call for a three-phase approach that sees restrictions gradually loosened on businesses over several weeks, with limited physical distancing measures kept in place even in the final phase.

Trump also said Wednesday he would resume official travel next week with a trip to Arizona and that he hoped to stage large campaign rallies before the 2020 November election.

“I hope that we’re going to be able to do some good old-fashioned 25,000-person rallies where everyone’s going wild because they love our country,” the president said.

Meanwhile, earlier Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, spoke of promising results from a clinical trial of a potential COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir.

“We think it’s really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating [COVID-19],” Fauci said of the results. 

Tags Anthony Fauci Donald Trump

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