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Trump's new virus plan: 'It will just sort of disappear, I hope'

Politics

As infections surge to record new levels across the US and states impose new restrictions, President Donald Trump says he hopes the virus will “disappear”.

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Speaking with Fox Business during an interview at the White House, Trump said he still believed the virus, which has killed more than 125,000 Americans, would go away.

“I think we’re [going to] be very good with the coronavirus,” he said.

“I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”

Trump has made similar comments in the past.

In March he claimed the virus would disappear “like a miracle” and suggested infected people could get better by “sitting around and even going to work”.
His latest remarks came as the number of infections continued to surge across the country.

On Wednesday the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 43,644 new cases across the country in a 24-hour period.

Texas recorded its largest single-day spike, with 8,076 confirmed by the state’s health department.

Louisiana recorded its largest spike since April, with authorities confirming another 2,100 infections.

Governor Gavin Newsom said almost half of the intensive care beds in the state’s hospitals were being used by coronavirus patients.

On Tuesday, the country’s leading infectious disease expert warned the US was “going in the wrong direction”.

Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said more needed to be done to stem the upward trend of cases.

“I’m very concerned, and I’m not satisfied with what’s going on because we’re going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases,” he told senators.

“So, we’ve really got to do something about that.”

The comments came as it was revealed the Trump administration has bought up virtually all stocks for the next three months of a drug shown to work against COVID-19.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) said it had secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir for American hospitals.

This represents 100 per cent of the US pharmaceutical firm Gilead’s projected production for July (94,200 treatment courses), 90 per cent of production in August (174,900 treatment courses), and 90 per cent of production in September (232,800 treatment courses), alongside an allocation for clinical trials.

Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug that was developed for use against Ebola.

It has been approved for use in COVID-19 patients by the US and the UK, among other countries, after data suggested it can cut recovery time by about four days.

However, there is no clinical trial data as yet to suggest it improves survival from coronavirus.

HHS secretary Alex Azar said in a statement: “President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19.

“To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it.”

Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said manufacturer Gilead would be under “certain political pressures locally” as a US company.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “It does raise two very important questions: what is a fair price for a drug, and what is fair access to a drug, and those are common issues but are particularly important in a global crisis like this.

“That’s part of the fair access question – the trial that gave the result that allowed remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the US, there were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places.

“And I wonder how they would feel knowing now that the drug is going to have restricted availability in their own country and would they have volunteered for that trial if they had known that?”

It also raises questions if a vaccine is found, he said.

“Commercial companies are built to behave like this and we need a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they’re going to be used for national emergencies.”

Gilead has said it will charge $US2340 ($A3400) for a typical treatment course for people in the US and other developed countries.

It will sell for less in poorer countries where generic drug-makers are being allowed to produce it.

Critics in the US attacked the price because taxpayers have funded much of the drug’s development.

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