White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pointed to the importance of developing vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19 Sunday as he said the United States is "not going to control" the contagious virus. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said the United States is "not going to control" the COVID-19 pandemic but is "making efforts" to contain it by developing vaccines and therapeutics.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Meadows said the country would not be able to get control of COVID-19 "because it is a contagious virus," which he compared wi the flu saying that reinstituting a nationwide lockdown was not a realistic option and that the administration would instead focus on treatments and vaccines.
"We're not going to control the pandemic," Meadows said. "We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas."
The United States reported 83,718 new COVID-19 cases and 914 deaths on Sunday, raising its world-leading totals to 8,607,419 cases and 225,067 deaths, according to data collected by John's Hopkins University.
The White House on Saturday said that Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, and one of his top advisers Marty Obst, tested positive for the virus.
Host Jake Tapper pressed Meadows about why the pandemic could not be controlled, to which he responded the administration would focus on reducing deaths.
"What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it's therapies or vaccines or treatments, to make sure that people don't die from this," Meadows said.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said Sunday that Meadows' comments indicate the Trump administration was "admitting defeat" in its battle to contain the virus.
"We are breaking records of the number of people that are contracting, a deadly virus, and this administration fails to take personal responsibility in terms of leading the nation through this dangerous, dangerous and deadly mass casualty event," said Harris. "And that's why they have forfeited their right to a second term in office."
Harris' home state of California leads the nation in COVID-19 cases with 898,029 after adding 5,219 on Sunday. The state also reported 34 new deaths, bringing its death toll to 17,345.
Second-place Texas reported 3,793 new cases for a total of 862,375 and 48 new deaths for a death toll of 17,504.
Florida reported 2,385 new cases for a total of 778,636 -- third-highest in the nation -- and 12 more deaths for 16,429 since the start of the pandemic.
New York on Sunday reported 1,632 new COVID-19 cases for the fourth-highest total in the nation at 495,464, while 12 more people died of the virus in the state for the country's highest total at 25,730 of confirmed deaths and 33,422 including probable ones.
Amid a recent surge in cases, Illinois reported 4,062 new cases for a total of 375,256 and the state's death toll rose to 9,505 after adding 24 deaths Sunday.