Donald Trump has raised hopes about a possible improvement in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, as the number of coronavirus fatalities in New York has fallen for the first time recently.
"Maybe that's a good sign", Trump told reporters at the Sunday coronavirus White House briefing. "There's never been anything like this before, but we're starting to see light at the end of the tunnel."
The president said that the federal government would deliver 600,000 N95 protective masks to New York City and 200,000 masks of the same type to Suffolk County in the state of New York. As of today, it remains the major coronavirus hot spot in the country. NYC alone has registered more than 2,250 fatalities from COVID-19.
Trump also announced that the US has stockpiled hydroxychloroquine, a medication used to treat malaria which could help coronavirus patients, as well as an antibiotic called erythromycin used for bacterial infections.
"If it does work it would be a shame if we didn't do it early … again you have to go through the medical people, get the approval", Trump said.
The president said medical professionals "know the side effects but they also know the potential" of these drugs. "We hope it works", he said.
Trump said the US is yet to reach the "horrific point" in terms of death but that will be the point where things start to take a turn for the better.
"We all know we have to reach a certain point, a horrific point in terms of death, but also a point where things are going to start changing", the president said.
Tump admitted that the coming week and a half or two weeks were going to be hard but said that the government hoped that the country would "stay under the minimum number" of deaths projected earlier (100,000 deaths).
US Vice President Mike Pence reported that a leveling trend has begun to appear in the number of COVID-19 cases across all US states.
"New cases were down slightly", Pence said, adding that a "leveling" trend was reported by all the state governors he talked to.
Pence stressed that, as Trump said earlier at the briefing, there was "light at the end of the tunnel". "We'll get through this a lot sooner than we first thought it would take", the vice president said.
Concerning hydroxychloroquine tests, Pence said it"will be made available to 3,000 patients in Detroit" who will be participating in a formal study to determine the drug's effectiveness in treating COVID-19.
In total, the United States has registered 335,524 cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University live-tracker. The nation has the third-largest death toll from coronavirus in the world (at least 9,562 fatalities), surpassed only by Italy (over 15,880 deaths) and Spain (more than 12,600 deaths).