Tuesday was the first of Trump's daily COVID-19 task force news conferences since April 25, when he downplayed their importance following an embarrassing flub about injecting disinfectant and sunlight to kill the novel coronavirus.
“We are taking good care, we have tremendous supplies," Trump told reporters at the White House, noting the center of the latest outbreak is in the Sun Belt. He added that the administration has zero unfilled requests for supplies, noting there was a “big difference from inheriting empty cupboards," as he has characterized the previous Obama administration's policies.
Trump noted the southern outbreak is driven by asymptomatic cases among 18-35-year-olds, saying that “America’s youth will act responsibly" and avoid "packed bars" and other places at high risk for easy spread of COVID-19.
He said the administration is "asking Americans to use masks, socially distance and employ vigorous hygiene – wash your hands every chance you get."
"Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact," Trump said. He attributed the reversal on the topic to the recent changing of minds by "experts" about their effectiveness. However, Trump did not wear a face mask during the indoor news conference.
"I carry it. I wear it," he said, pulling a mask out of his pocket before putting it away again. "I'm getting used to the mask. Think about patriotism. Maybe it helps. It helps."
Trump noted that roughly half of all deaths have been in nursing homes or among those in long-term care, with a median mortality age of 65, and that 99.96% of all virus fatalities are in adults.
“We have learned best practices for treatment of the virus at every stage,” Trump said, noting they’ve been shared all over the world. He noted some of these include ensuring all hospitals are aware of the different approaches to oxygen treatment, the importance of steroid treatment for those on ventilators, and that practice has helped doctors learned about how to use them better.
Trump asserted that the "initial shutdown" in March "was to prevent the overflow for hospitals and to allow us to meet the demands caused by this global pandemic ... a permanent shutdown was really never an option." He added it would "be completely unsustainable" and urged that the goal was to end the pandemic, not simply manage it. He said a vaccine is a top priority.
When asked why he takes so many COVID-19 tests per day, Trump said, "I don't know of anytime I've taken two tests in a day," in contrast to comments by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany earlier on Tuesday.