President Donald Trump has warned that up to 100,000 people may die from coronavirus in the United States.
Speaking at a two-hour virtual “town hall”, Trump also denied that his administration had acted too slowly.
Over 67,000 people have already died with Covid-19 in the United States.
But Trump has expressed optimism about the development of a vaccine, saying it will be ready by the end of this year – although public health experts believe it will take 12-18 months.
“I think we will have a vaccine by the end of the year,” he told Fox News. “The doctors would say, well, you shouldn’t say that.” I will say what I think … I think we will get a vaccine sooner rather than later.
Among the experts who disagree with this optimistic estimate are Dr. Anthony Fauci, the best American infectious disease expert, and British chief physician Chris Whitty.
Dr. Fauci previously said that a vaccine would take up to 18 months to develop, while Professor Whitty said last month that the chances of having an effective vaccine or other treatment in the next year are “Incredibly weak”.
The town hall – or community meeting with questions from viewers – aimed to relaunch its presidential campaign instead of gatherings.
President Trump also dismissed allegations that his administration did not act quickly enough at the start of the epidemic, saying, “We did the right thing.”
Instead, he again accused China of not preventing the spread of the virus: “I think they made a horrible mistake, and they did not want to admit it. We wanted to enter. They didn’t want us there. “
Trump has also laid some of the blame on US intelligence officials, accusing them of not raising concerns about the epidemic until January 23.
However, American broadcasters CNN and ABC report that the President’s intelligence briefings mentioned the coronavirus as early as January 3.