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Trump: Coronavirus will disappear at some point

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US President says in TV interview that he supports mask-wearing but believes the coronavirus will vanish eventually

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump thinks the coronavirus that has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and infected more than 10.5 million will disappear at some point.

It came up when he was talking about wearing masks in an interview with Fox Business.

"I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that, at some point, that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope," he said.

When pressed by the interviewer whether he truly believed the virus would vanish, he said: "I do. I do. Yes, sure, at some point. And I think we're going to have a vaccine very soon too."

Mr Trump made similar statements in February, when he said: "It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear."

He also said yesterday that he would wear a mask under certain conditions.

"If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely," he said.

But he added: "Usually I'm not in that position."

Mr Trump noted that most people he sees at the White House are tested for Covid-19 before coming in contact with him.

"I'm all for masks - I think masks are good," he said, while adding his doubts about whether face coverings needed to be "mandatory" nationwide to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, Governors of US states hit hardest by the resurgent coronavirus halted or reversed steps to reopen their economies on Wednesday, led by California, the nation's most populous state and a new epicentre of the pandemic.

New cases of Covid-19 shot up by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

The US is the worst-hit country with 128,000 deaths from 2,682,270 cases.

"The spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning," California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in ordering the closure of bars, bans on indoor dining and other restrictions in 19 counties, affecting over 70 per cent of the state's population.

The change in California, which was the first US state to impose sweeping "stay-at-home" restrictions in March, will likely inflict more financial pain on the owners of bars and restaurants who have struggled to survive the pandemic.

The epicentre of the country's Covid-19 epidemic has moved from the north-east to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the west, along with Texas, Florida and Georgia.

Texas again topped its previous record on Wednesday with 8,076 new cases, while South Carolina reported 24 more deaths, a single-day high for the state. Tennessee and Alaska also had record numbers of new cases on Wednesday.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham, a Democrat, on Wednesday extended the state's emergency public health order through July 15, saying that authorities would "aggressively" enforce mandatory mask rules.

"I want to be as clear as I can possibly be: New Mexico, in this moment, still has the power to change the terrible trajectory of this virus," Ms Grisham said. "But our time is limited. And we are staring down the barrel of what Texas, Arizona and many other hard-hit states are grappling with." - AFP, REUTERS