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President Trump claimed at a press briefing on Wednesday that CDC director Robert Redfield was wrong when he testified to Congress that a coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until the second or third quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: Trump has already faced criticism for allegations that his administration has politicized the coronavirus response and is seeking rapid approval and distribution of a vaccine in order to boost his re-election campaign.

  • Trump went on later in the briefing to say Redfield was wrong when he said that masks are "more guaranteed" to protect against the coronavirus than a vaccine: "As far as the masks are concerned, he made a mistake."
  • The president's contradiction of Redfield, who he said was probably "confused," may further erode public trust.

The big picture: A vaccine has not been submitted for the FDA to review, and even that may not happen by Trump's aggressive October estimate for distribution. Whenever a vaccine is approved, it will take several more months to manufacture enough of it to begin vaccinating the general public.

  • Redfield testified on Wednesday that a vaccine could be available for first responders and vulnerable populations by November or December, but that it will take six to nine months before it can be distributed nationally.
  • Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the project tasked with developing a vaccine by January, has also said it is "extremely unlikely" that widespread distribution will be possible by October or November.

What he's saying: "I think [Redfield] made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information. I called him, and he didn't tell me that. I think he got the message maybe confused, maybe it was stated incorrectly," Trump said.

  • "No, we are ready to go. ... It could be announced in October, it could be announced a little bit after October. Once we go, we are ready."
  • Asked about his timeline for distribution to the general public, Trump responded: "Immediately. When we go we go. We are not looking to say, gee in six months we're going to start giving it to the general public."
  • "It was an incorrect statement. I saw the statement, and I called him and said what do you mean by that? And I think he just made a mistake. I think he misunderstood the question, probably."

The other side: "I 100% believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a #COVID19 vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life," Redfield tweeted after the press conference.

  • "The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation efforts of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing and being careful about crowds."

Joe Biden also responded on Twitter: "When I said I trust vaccines, and I trust the scientists, but I don't trust Donald Trump — this is what I meant."

Go deeper ... Biden: "I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump"

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
13 hours ago - Health

Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Many of the states where coronavirus cases have recently skyrocketed are also seeing the highest death rates in the nation, a painful reminder that wherever the virus goes, death eventually follows.

Between the lines: Deaths usually lag behind cases by a few weeks. Given America's record-high case counts, it's reasonable to expect that death rates across the country will continue to rise in tandem.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Oct 28, 2020 - World

France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday a second nationwide lockdown starting Friday to contain the coronavirus.

Why it matters: “(France has been) overpowered by a second wave,” Macron said in a national televised address Wednesday, noting the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier," than the first. The announcement comes after the country saw over 36,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.