Trump Mask

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted this photo of himself wearing a mask over his nose and mouth as means of protection against what he terms the “China Virus.” This is more commonly referred to as COVID-19.

Though he insists on using the term “Invisible China Virus,” President Donald Trump appears to be taking a new approach against the germs that create COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 498 additional COVID fatalities on Monday alone, along with 63,201 new coronavirus infections. The CDC operates as an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is part of Trump’s cabinet.

This means that for months, Trump has generally defied the advice of his own administration. On its website, CDC states: “CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household.”

“Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice,” the agency adds.

Heretofore, however, Trump has usually ignored this recommendation. Three clear instances of this are:

During a May tour of a Ford plant in Michigan;

During a June rally in Oklahoma; and

During an Independence Day fireworks display at South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore.

Against this backdrop, Trump took to his favorite platform, Twitter, on Monday in an effort to show he understands the severity of COVID-19.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump stated, adding, “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

Meanwhile, South Dakota’s COVID-19 numbers continue to inch higher, but at a much slower rate in comparison to most of the nation. The state Department of Health on Monday showed a total of 7,943 total coronavirus cases in South Dakota, with 829 of those considered active.

It is unclear if the 15 active infections listed for Hughes County include the two reported from the Pierre Post Office on Friday. This is because state officials will not discuss this at all, while U.S. Postal Service spokesman Floyd Wagoner said he could not comment on the specifics regarding the health of these individuals.

“The Postal Service cannot share the name of the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 or further specifics of his or her medical condition,” Wagoner said on Monday.

Also on Monday, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca joined Oxford University to announce a possible breakthrough for a vaccine against COVID-19. According to an AstraZenaca news release, the research involved 1,077 healthy adults ranging in age from 18 to 55.

They claim this study showed that 91% of those who received the vaccine saw neutralizing activity against the virus that creates COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) one month after receiving the treatment, while 100% saw action against the virus after receiving a second dose.

Mene Pangalos is the executive vice president for research and development of biopharmaceuticals at AstraZeneca.

“We are encouraged by the Phase I/II interim data showing (vaccine) was capable of generating a rapid antibody and T-cell response against SARS-CoV-2,” Pangalos said of the study. “While there is more work to be done, today’s data increases our confidence that the vaccine will work and allows us to continue our plans to manufacture the vaccine at scale for broad and equitable access around the world.”

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