President Donald Trump warned Americans on Tuesday (July 21) that the toll from the novel coronavirus would get worse before it got better, and encouraged Americans to wear a mask if they cannot maintain social distance from people around them.
In his first briefing in months focused on the pandemic, Trump told reporters at the White House that the virus would probably get worse before it gets better, in one of his first recent acknowledgments of how bad the problem has become.
“Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better – something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” he said.
In a shift in rhetoric, Trump encouraged Americans to wear masks, and pulled a mask out of his pocket, saying he carries it around.
“I mean I carry the mask,” he said, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a blue face mask. “And I will use it gladly, no problem with it, and I’ve said that. And I say, if you can, use the mask. When you can, use the mask. If you’re close to each other, if you’re in a group, I would put it on when I’m in a group.”
Trump, who downplayed the virus in its early stages and has been focused on reopening the economy in recent months despite an increase in cases, has been reluctant to wear a mask himself in public. He wore one for the first time in public during a recent visit to a military hospital but has otherwise eschewed putting one on in front of the press.
Mask-wearing has become a partisan issue, with some Trump supporters saying being required to do infringes on their liberties.
As coronavirus cases skyrocket across the country, including in politically important states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona, the president is shifting his tone to try to get the number of cases under control as he fights for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden, who leads in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
He urged young Americans to avoid crowded bars where the virus could spread.
“We are imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings. Be safe and be smart,” he said.
Trump again argued that the virus would disappear at some point, but most of his comments on Tuesday were largely a sober recognition of how bad the problem has become.
Trump sought to leave some optimism about scientific developments in vaccines and treatments even as he acknowledged the grim statistics at present.
When asked if the U.S. would cooperate with China on a vaccine, Trump, who several times called the virus “the China virus” during the news conference, said Washington would.
“Yeah, we’re willing to work with anybody that’s going to get us a good result. We’re very close to the vaccine. I think we’re going to have some very good results,” he said.
Nearly 142,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines — Due to the rise in cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in Pasig City, the local government unit (LGU) has imposed a 14-day lockdown in selected areas of Barangay Manggahan.
The localized enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which took effect Sunday (July 19), covers the streets of Pipino, Labanos, Okra, and Ubas in the Ninoy Aquino Pilot Community or NAPICO area.
Barangay Chairwoman Shiela de Asis appealed to her constituents to strictly comply with the health protocols especially the wearing of face masks and physical distancing to curb COVID-19 transmission.
She assured that residents affected by the lockdown will be able to get food assistance from the LGU.
As of July 19, Barangay Manggahan has recorded around 110 positive cases, 54 of which are active. Death toll in the area stands at seven.
The Pasig City Police Office said essential workers and authorized persons outside residence (APOR) are the only ones allowed to go out provided they present their valid company ID and permit to leave premises issued by the PCPO.
A P5,000 fine would be slapped on violators of the localized ECQ that will end on August 2. MNP (with inputs from Jun Soriao)
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