US President Donald Trump has likened the race to produce the COVID-19 vaccine to the race to produce first nuclear weapons during the Second World War. Regardless of the potential timeline, the president has declared that the US must reopen.
Project Warp Speed
Speaking at a White House Rose Garden news conference on Friday, President Trump has announced the vaccine project. He stated that there are 14 promising candidates and that they will begin their research.
“That means big and it means fast,” president said. “A massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.”
Although this project will be accelerated for approval, many experts believe that the coronavirus cure can’t be developed within a year.
Trump declared Gustave Perna, an Army general and Moncef Slaoui, a former healthcare executive to be in charge of the operation. This is an interesting cooperation project for the government and the private sector.
Mr. Slaoui said he was “confident” that a “few hundred million doses of vaccine” can be shipped by the end of this year.
He had previously stated for The New York Times that the time frame might seem ambitious, but said he “would not have committed unless I thought it was achievable”.
This is a meaningful glimmer of hope for many Americans. Several experts believe that the finding the vaccine is the only thing that will give them confidence to reopen their country.
“I don’t want people to think this is all dependent on a vaccine,” President Trump said. “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back. And we’re starting the process.”
“In many cases they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it,” he added. “Other things have never had a vaccine and they go away.”
“I think the schools should be back in the fall,” Trump added.
Several truck drivers blared their horns in protest in front of the White House on Friday. They’ve been parked there for a few weeks demanding higher wages, but neither for nor against the president.
“Those are friendly truckers. They’re on our side,” Trump said. “It’s almost a celebration in a way.”
How Realistic Is The End Of 2020 For Vaccine?
Trump’s advisor Dr. Fauci has appeared earlier this week wearing a mask at the Rose Garden conference. He testified to the Senate that it would be a “bridge too far” for schools to reopen in the fall.
“Even at the top speed we’re going we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this fall,” Dr. Fauci said.
He’s not the only one who believes that as other experts have agreed that a vaccine will take at least a year to develop.
This pandemic has been compared to the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak. In that case, it wasn’t until December 2019 when a vaccine was approved.
Dr. Peter Hotez, who is the co-director of the Medicine Coronavirus Vaccine Team at Baylor College also spoke on the matter.
“I don’t understand how that happens,” he said to CNN.
“I don’t see a path by which any vaccine is licensed for emergency use or otherwise till the third quarter of 2021,” he added.
Trump fires state department inspector general Steve Linick
Steve Linick is the latest in Trump’s firing spree. This is not the first time Trump has fired a high-ranking official and it may not be the last.
“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” Trump said in a letter sent late Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This letter also states that Linick will be removed from his post within 30 days.
Many believe that this is in relation to Linick’s investigation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his alleged abuse of power.
“This firing is the outrageous act of a president trying to protect one of his most loyal supporters, the secretary of state, from accountability,” Eliot Engel, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“I have learned that the Office of the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary Pompeo. Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.”
Many Democrats believe this to be a clear act of retaliation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mr. Linick was “punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the constitution and our national security”.
“The president must cease his pattern of reprisal and retaliation against the public servants who are working to keep Americans safe, particularly during this time of global emergency,” she added.
Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said that this cannot stand. He called for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ‘get to bottom of what happened here’.