President Donald Trump, wearing a face mask, tours a North Carolina laboratory Monday, July 27, where key components are being manufactured for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax.
READ MORE: For the second time, Trump has been photographed wearing a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I trust all Americans to do the right thing, but we strongly advise everyone to especially, especially focus on maintaining a social distance, maintain a rigorous hygiene, avoid crowded gatherings and indoor bars and wear masks when appropriate,” Trump told a group of reporters traveling with him just before his tour of the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies Innovation Center.
“Nothing’s happened like this since the end of World War II,” the president said of the billions of dollars being spent in the global race to produce and mass deploy a vaccine in record time.
Before the tour of the plant, Trump spoke to several dozen North Carolina politicians, scientists, White House officials, journalists and Secret Service agents; Trump was the only person not wearing a mask.
The Trump administration launched what it calls Operation Warp Speed, a program under which multiple coronavirus vaccines are being developed simultaneously with the hope of having 300 million safe and effective doses ready by January.
While Trump was in North Carolina, Vice President Mike Pence was in Miami, where clinical trials of another vaccine jointly developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. began Monday.
The U.S. has more than 4.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 147,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.