Coronavirus government response updates: Cuomo wears mask as he arrives to meet Trump

Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 nears 100,000, Trump on Wednesday is traveling to the battleground state of Florida to witness the first takeoff of American astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years — but he began his day on Twitter, claiming Democrats and the news media are trying to make him look “slow” in responding to the pandemic and shifting the focus to what he called a milestone — on testing.

 

 

Notably, despite the U.S. having completed the highest number of tests, there are several countries with higher levels of testing per capita.

He was meeting Wednesday morning in the Oval Office with New York Demcratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was photographed entering the White House wearing a mask, something Trump has declined to do before cameras, questioning why his political opponent Joe Biden has done so.

As he continues his push to reopen the country, when asked at an afternoon Rose Garden news conference on Tuesday what message he had for those flouting restrictions, Trump replied, “Be safe,” saying nothing more, declining to criticize them.

Here are Wednesday’s most significant developments in Washington:

Fauci says there is a good chance a COVID-19 vaccine would be deployable by the end of 2020

The government’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci appearing on CNN Wednesday morning said that there is a good chance that a vaccine for coronavirus would be deployable by the end of the year.

“I still think that we have a good chance — if all the things fall in the right place — that we might have a vaccine that would be deployable by the end of the year,” Fauci said.

He underscored that the process to develop a vaccine is not a smooth one.

“There are a lot of landmines and hiccups that occur,” Fauci said.

The infectious disease expert also emphasized that the rapid development of a vaccine would not come “at the expense of safety nor scientific integrity.”

Asked about France’s ban of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment, Fauci said he’s “not so sure” it should be banned, “but clearly the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy.”

He pointed out that recent studies had shown that dangerous side effects from hydroxychloroquine “might be rare, but you’d see it, adverse events, particularly with regard to cardiovascular.”

— ABC News’ Elizabeth Thomas

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

DOJ arrests man for alleged vandalism of Andrew Jackson statue

bpperry / iStockBy Alexander Mallin, ABC News (WASHINGTON) — Federal prosecutors have charged another individual allegedly involved in vandalizing the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Park last week. Jason Charter, who self