Pressure to produce vaccine heightens tensions on Capitol Hill

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The United States has tallied more than six and a half million cases of the coronavirus and more than 195,000 have resulted in death.

Senators grilled top U.S. health officials Wednesday, demanding to know how the country can better prevent the spread of the virus and when a vaccine will be available.

Despite President Trump’s recent public statements claiming a vaccine would be ready by November, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said one will not be widely available for another nine to twelve months. Officials added that very limited amounts of a vaccine could be available by the end of 2020, but would be prioritized for health care workers and those at a high risk of becoming infected.

Meantime, Democrats continue to accuse President Trump of damaging Americans’ trust in health officials during the pandemic.

“He not only said masks cause problems too, he also shared a tweet saying masks represent a culture of silence slavery and social death,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

Secretary of Health’s Admiral Brett Giroir defended Trump’s response saying new cases were down 48%, hospitalizations were down 49%, and that COVID-related deaths were down 33%. Giroir added that Americans should continue to protect themselves.

“Let me say emphatically that these gains could be fleeting or even reversed if we don’t continue to follow the national plan and exercise personal responsibility especially wearing masks and avoiding crowds,” Girior said.

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