As America passes the grim milestone of 200,000 lost to the coronavirus, hospitalizations and deaths are down overall. However, new infections in many states are starting to trend back upward. That is fueling fears that colder weather and the upcoming flu season could spark another surge.
President Trump responded to the news while defending his administrations' handling of the pandemic.
"It's a terrible thing, but had we not closed our country down and reopened; and now doing well in reopening, the stock market's up, all of those things," Trump said Tuesday. "But I think it's a horrible thing. But if not -- if we had not done it right, you could have 2 million, two-and-a-half or 3 million, but it's a horrible thing."
Former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at the president's response in a new campaign ad.
"President Trump wants to write off those we lost as nobodies," Biden says in the ad. "This president trying to erase the reality we're living today because he thinks it helps him politically."
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In a recorded speech to a virtual United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, President Trump laid the blame squarely on China.
He accused China's communist regime and the World Health Organization of spreading false information about the virus's transmission.
"We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague unto the world - China," he said. "The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions."
The President also promised that America would take the lead in conquering the virus.
"We will distribute the vaccine," he said. "We will defeat the virus. We will end the pandemic and we will enter a new era of prosperity of peace."
But with the flu season approaching, cases are on the rise. Eighteen states are in the so-called 'red zone' – meaning infections are spreading rapidly. Citing concerns of a second wave combined with the flu season, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned people to take precautions by wearing masks and avoiding crowds.
"It's unacceptable to not realize that we are entering into a risk period and we have to act accordingly as we enter this risk period," said Fauci.
And while Dr. Fauci is cautiously optimistic about a vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration is set to issue tougher restrictions.
CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson said part of the reason is that people are afraid to take the vaccine.
"The FDA is concerned about people being afraid to get the vaccine," explained Johnson. "We know that the number was originally 72%, now it's 50% of people who say if and when a vaccine comes out, they will get one. So, they say that later this week they're going to increase the standards as far as Phase 3 trials, that a person needs to be in it 2 months."
"They want to see at least five severe cases of COVID in some of the test areas because some people get the vaccine and some people get the placebo. They want to see if these people who get a placebo get very serious cases of COVID, even elderly people whether it works," said Johnson.
That makes it unlikely that a vaccine will be ready by Election Day.
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