Trump concedes pandemic ‘is likely to get worse before it gets better’

ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry breaks down the situation in the US

President Donald Trump has admitted the coronavirus pandemic will "get worse before it gets better" as he revived his daily briefings.

He also continued his belated encouragement of Americans to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, saying: “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact.”

Mr Trump said he has absolutely "no problem" with wearing masks. "I carry it and I will use it gladly," he added.

It was the first coronavirus briefing in months and the president used it to urge young people to avoid going to crowded bars.

“It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better,” President Trump admitted from the White House, but he also touted a reduction in deaths and progress on vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, which Trump referred to repeatedly as a the “China virus”.

There have been more than 140,000 coronavirus deaths in the US and more than 3.8 million cases.

The early evening show at the White House came as the next stage of the federal government’s response to the pandemic was being crafted on Capitol Hill.

Politicians and White House officials were opening negotiations on a trillion-dollar-or-more “phase four” rescue package.

With three months to election day, President Trump is hoping that the podium spotlight will give him an edge against Democratic rival Joe Biden.

He appeared at the White House solo, without the medical experts or government supply experts he previously relied on to explain his response to the public health emergency.

“The vaccines are coming, and they’re coming a lot sooner than anybody thought possible,” President Trump promised.

As early as next week, the first possible US vaccine is set to begin final-stage testing in a study of 30,000 people to see if it really is safe and effective.

A few other vaccines have begun smaller late-stage studies in other countries, and in the US a series of huge studies are planned to start each month through fall in hopes of, eventually, having several vaccines to use.

Already, people can start signing up to volunteer for the different studies.

President Trump encouraged the use of face masks in his revived daily briefing. Credit: AP

Health authorities warn there is no guarantee – it is not unusual for vaccines to fail during this critical testing step.

But vaccine makers and health officials are hopeful that at least one vaccine could prove to work by year’s end.

Companies already are taking the unusual step of brewing hundreds of millions of doses so that mass vaccinations could begin if the Food and Drug Administration signs off.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he was glad President Trump has begun to promote mask-wearing and expressed optimism the president would reinforce that message.

“If we, during those conferences, come out and have consistent, clear, non-contradictory messages, I believe it will be very helpful in getting people on the track of knowing the direction that we need to go to get this pandemic under control,” he said.