(The Center Square) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is working with Congress on another economic stimulus package, and he also urged Americans to wear masks when they are not able to socially distance by at least six feet when in public.
At his first news briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since late April, Trump acknowledged that the number of COVID-19 cases was rising, particularly in the South and West, but said the percentage of infected people needing to be hospitalized and the overall death rate from the respiratory disease had decreased significantly.
“Some areas of our country are doing very well, others are doing less well,” Trump said. “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better.”
States such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have seen a rise in new cases in recent weeks.
Trump, who has opposed mandated mask requirements, called social distancing guidelines “common sense” and said he wants people to wears masks in public when appropriate.
“I’m getting used to the mask,” he said. “It helps … I wear it when appropriate.”
He pulled out his mask to show reporters he had one when asked about it.
The president also said he was confident that a vaccine for the novel coronavirus will be developed, adding that companies already are mass-producing several that have shown promise so they will be ready and available after proper vetting protocols are met.
When asked about delays in some COVID-19 testing result, he said he was open to more funding to improve testing.
“I think we’re doing a tremendous amount of testing, but if the doctors and the professionals feel that even though we’re at a level that no one would have dreamt possible, that they would like to do more, I’m OK with it,” Trump said.
Trump didn’t detail what the new stimulus package would look like, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it would include direct payments to lower-income Americans.
Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at [email protected]