President Trump touted his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday afternoon, telling reporters, "It's all going to work out, and it is working out."
In his second news conference in two days after announcing on Monday that he would be resuming daily briefings previously led by the White House coronavirus task force, the president offered an update on the status of the virus' spread across the country, on testing, and therapies to treat COVID-19.
Mr. Trump's appearance came as coronavirus cases continue to climb in several states. He said that the administration was monitoring a rise in cases in the South and Southwest, noting "cases are surging very sharply" across the Western Hemisphere.
Mr. Trump remarked that Mexico had also seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases, and praised the miles of border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, claiming that the wall had succeeded in blocking people from crossing the border.
"It was really meant for a different purpose, but it worked out very well," Mr. Trump said of the wall.
Mr. Trump reiterated that he wanted to see schools reopened in the fall, and said that he would be "comfortable" with sending his own young son and grandchildren to school in the fall.
"I would like to see the schools open. Open 100%," Mr. Trump said, adding that children have "very strong immune systems." He claimed that children do not often catch the virus, and that if they do, they would not spread it to more vulnerable family members.
"They don't bring it home with them," Mr. Trump said. Some studies have shown that children are less likely to spread the virus to adults, but others have shown that child-to-child transmission is more common, according to reporting by NPR. A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs released Wednesday found that only about 1 in 10 Americans think daycare centers, preschools or K-12 schools should open this fall without restrictions.
The president also repeated a call for Americans to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently. Mr. Trump has shifted his message on the importance of wearing facial coverings in recent days, tweeting a picture of himself wearing a mask on Monday and saying on Tuesday that masks "have an impact."
"Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact," Mr. Trump said during his briefing on Tuesday. He later added that he "will use it gladly, no problem with it." The president largely resisted wearing a mask in public for months and had previously downplayed the importance of masks, noting in an interview with CBS News last week that health experts initially recommended that Americans not wear facial coverings.
He also stated that the "nationwide positive test rate is beginning to decline and is currently at 8.8%, compared to over 16% at its peak in April."
"It's coming down. It's coming down fairly rapidly," he said.
Mr. Trump was not accompanied by any members of the coronavirus task force on Wednesday. He said that "all the relationships are good" with medical experts, and claimed that members of the coronavirus task force are "giving me everything they know, and I am giving the information to you." He also appeared at the podium solo during his briefing on Tuesday, although he said that task force member Dr. Deborah Birx was "right outside" as he spoke.
He also said that remdesivir has "proven to be terrific," suggesting that it has helped bring down the fatality rate of the virus. Mr. Trump said the administration is "working with every state to ensure the supply of remdesivir for early case intervention."
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump announced a partnership with Pfizer to produce 100 million doses of a vaccine before December.
The U.S. has seen nearly 4 million confirmed coronavirus cases, and over 142,000 people in the country have died due to the virus, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.