President Donald Trump has once again found himself at odds with experts in his own administration as to how to curb the virus that's already killed nearly 200 thousand Americans.
While officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continue to emphasize the importance of wearing a mask in public to avoid asymptomatic transmission of the virus, the President insists that a vaccine will soon be on the way—potentially as soon as November, around the time of the presidential election.
But in sworn testimony before a Senate committee on Tuesday, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield contradicted Trump's claim that a vaccine would be ready by early 2021. Redfield then urged the public to prioritize mask wearing over waiting for a vaccine.
While Redfield said that a small supply of an initial vaccine could be created by December, it would be months longer before it's readily available:
"If you're asking me, when is it going to be generally available to the American public, so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life? I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021."
He went on to stress that, at this stage, mask-wearing is more effective than reliance on a vaccine.
"I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings. I've said it, if we did it for six, eight, 10, 12 weeks, we'd bring this pandemic under control. These actually, we have clear, scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense."
In a Wednesday press briefing, Trump was asked about the dissonance between his assurances of a vaccine and Redfield's claim that the soonest publicly available vaccine wouldn't come until mid-2021.
Trump said of Redfield:
"I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information and I called him and he didn't tell me that and I think he got the message, maybe, confused. Maybe it was stated incorrectly...We're ready to go as soon as the vaccine is announced."
Trump's insistence that he has the deadly virus under control is once again taking priority over the advice of health experts within his own administration.
As a response, CNN created a graphic showing Redfield's medical qualifications next to Trump's, and it makes it pretty clear who is to be trusted on these issues.
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The graphic shows Redfield's credentials:
"• Medical degree from Georgetown
• Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
• Served on advisory council on HIV/AIDS under George W. Bush
• Served in the Army Medical Corps for 20 years
• Has been CDC director since 2018"
Next to Redfield, Trump's credentials seemed even more sparse:
"• Uncle taught at MIT"
People couldn't help but cackle at the tongue in cheek graphic.
And they were pretty certain as to whom they would trust when it came to a vaccine.