Donald Trump said his Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director “made a mistake” because he was “confused” when he told lawmakers on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine won’t be widely distributed until next spring.
"He misunderstood the question, probably,” the president told reporters at the White House, of Robert Redfield’s Senate testimony.
Mr Trump at times warned about the virus being severe and deadly, but at others urged governors to open their states.
“Open them,” he said of states still under economic restrictions.
Minutes later, however, he said this: “This is the most contagious flu or virus anyone has seen.”
The president used part of his opening remarks to first congratulate the Big Ten college football conference for announcing it plans to start its 2020 season in late October, then to pressure them on what to do inside their stadiums.
He suggested 25 per cent fan capacity, then said: “I think they could have fans go.”
Playing the role of college football commissioner, a position that does not exist, Mr Trump pressed Pac-12 Conference officials to also get their season going this fall.
“There’s no reason why the Pac-12 shouldn’t be playing now,” he said, then referring to four of the so-called “Power Five” leagues playing or planning to this autumn. “They’re the only ones.”