COVID-19: Two lakh dead as Donald Trump vilifies science

Updated: 24 September, 2020 11:45 IST | Agencies | New York

The study will be one of the world's largest COVID-19 vaccine studies so far, testing the shot in 60,000 volunteers in the US, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru

A woman is comforted by a nurse as she weeps while sitting at the bedside of her dying husband, in St. Jude Medical Centre's COVID-19 unit in Fullerton, California
A woman is comforted by a nurse as she weeps while sitting at the bedside of her dying husband, in St. Jude Medical Centre's COVID-19 unit in Fullerton, California

"I did the best I could," President Donald Trump said. Huddled with aides in the West Wing last week, his eyes fixed on Fox News, he wasn't talking about how he had led the nation through the deadliest pandemic in a century."

In a conversation overheard by an AP reporter, Trump was describing how he'd just publicly rebuked one of his top scientists " Dr Robert Redfield, a virologist and head of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Redfield had angered the Trump by asserting that a COVID-19 vaccine wouldn't be widely available until late 2021. So hours later, with no supporting evidence, Trump called a news conference to say Redfield was "confused." A vaccine, Trump insisted, could be ready before November's election.

Protesters gather outside Trump National Golf Club in Sterling on Sunday. Pics/AP
Protesters gather outside Trump National Golf Club in Sterling on Sunday. Pics/AP

Mission accomplished: Fox was headlining Trump's latest foray in his administration's ongoing war against its own scientists. It is a war that continues unabated, even as the nation's COVID-19 death toll has reached 2,00,000 — nearly half the number of Americans killed in World War II, a once unfathomable number that the nation's top doctors just months ago said was avoidable. But Trump and his people have routinely tried to muzzle scientists who dispute the administration's rosy spin.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday began a huge final study to try to prove if a single-dose vaccine can protect against the virus. The study will be one of the world's largest COVID-19 vaccine studies so far, testing the shot in 60,000 volunteers in the US, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

COVID-19 curbs to get stricter in Paris

Paris is expected to see curbs get tougher as the novel Coronavirus cases rise across France, the Guardian reported, citing a local news reports. The French government is expected to ban public gatherings of more than 10 people, and only 1,000 people can attend major events, against 5,000 allowed at present. The government will prohibit the sale of alcohol outdoors after 8 pm, local media reported.

Experts warn of new COVID-19 cases as Singapore plans to reopen borders

Singapore should expect new COVID-19 cases in the country as it plans to reopen its borders in a safe and controlled way, experts were quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Singapore has reported 57,639 cases of coronavirus and 27 deaths due to it. On Wednesday, the country reported 12 new cases, including 4 imported ones.

The experts, who have been closely analysing the coronavirus pandemic dynamics across the world, said ultimately, Singapore's aim has been to live with the virus unlike some countries such as New Zealand, China and Vietnam, which aim for eradication.

"Singapore continues to expect new cases of coronavirus as it plans to open its borders. People here now have to live with the virus unlike countries such as New Zealand, China and Vietnam who want to eradicate it," Prof Dale Fisher, a senior consultant in the infectious diseases division at the National University Hospital, said.

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First Published: 24 September, 2020 07:26 IST

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