President Donald Trump wore a mask and raised the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year on Monday as he sought to show voters in the state of the North Carolina battlefield that it was responding to the pandemic.
Trump, whose job approval ratings have plummeted because many Americans believe he has handled the virus mismanaged, sought the second week to watch at the helm after putting aside his hands-off approach.
“I trust all Americans to do the right thing, but we urge everyone to focus especially on maintaining social distancing, maintaining rigorous hygiene, avoiding crowded gatherings. and indoor bars and wear masks where appropriate, ”Trump said.
The Republican president spoke during a visit to a Fujifilm factory in Morrisville, North Carolina, where work on a vaccine is underway. During a tour of the facility, he wore a mask in public for the second time, the first being during a trip to Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington earlier this month.
“I’ve heard some very positive things, but at the end of the year we think we’re in very good shape to do it,” Trump said of a potential vaccine.
He expressed confidence in the economic recovery and said: “A lot of governors should open states they don’t open.”
Infection rates have climbed since June in the United States, which leads the world in total deaths and cases. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has become the most senior official in Trump’s inner circle to test positive for coronavirus, the White House said on Monday.
Trump, who seeks re-election on Nov. 3, has his work cut out for him in North Carolina, a state he narrowly won in 2016 and where he initially hoped to accept his nomination for a second term.
A new NBC News / Marist poll said Democrat Joe Biden led Trump by 7 points in North Carolina. He said respondents by a 2-to-1 margin were in favor of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s opposition to a large Republican nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in late August.
Cooper’s opposition prompted Trump to try to host a big event in Jacksonville, Florida, but that plan fell apart last week and it is now unclear where Trump will deliver his acceptance speech.
Republican delegates are yet to meet in Charlotte at the end of August to complete some convention business.