Trump’s bold vaccine prediction as US COVID-19 deaths rise

The president floated the possibility of a vaccine by Election Day despite other predictions from top health officials as fatalities climb and the debate over reopening schools continues.
4:38 | 08/06/20

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Transcript for Trump’s bold vaccine prediction as US COVID-19 deaths rise
And good evening, thanks for joining us on a busy Thursday night. We begin with covid-19's surging death toll in America and president trump contradicting nearly every health official in his administration, saying he's optimistic a vaccine may be ready by election day. The U.S. With more than 159,000 lives lost. An additional 2,000 reported since this time last night. The white house task force warning positive tests are increasing in nine cities and California's central valley. Dr. Anthony Fauci calling it a predictor of trouble ahead. The president, without citing evidence, timing a possible vaccine to November 3rd, saying, quote, it wouldn't hurt his election chances. Ohio governor Mike dewine at the forefront of the battle against the virus now testing positive, moments before he was supposed to welcome president trump at the airport in Cleveland today. And as more districts prepare to start the new school year, teachers in Michigan today protesting against returning to the classroom. The president again insisting students should be in school, downplaying the virus's effect on them, saying, quote, very young children are incredibly powerful. ABC's Steve osunsami in Atlanta tonight to lead us off. Reporter: As the president was landing in Ohio today, one of the first people he was hoping to meet, governor Mike dewine, was sharing that he had just tested positive for covid-19. I just said, I look forward to seeing the governor, they said, sir, he just tested positive. But he's a great guy, he's done a fantastic job. Reporter: Anyone meeting with the president has to be tested and that's how governor dewine learned his diagnosis. The Republican, who closed bars and restaurants long before many of his peers in other states, is highly popular at home and says he has no symptoms. And when I got to the airport I found out, shortly thereafter, that I had tested positive. Reporter: President trump, who wore a mask as he toured a an appliance factory, is hopeful that a vaccine could be ready by election day. I'm optimistic that it will be probably around that date. I believe we'll have the vaccine before the end of the year, certainly, but around that date, yes. I think so. Will that help you in the election? It wouldn't hurt. It wouldn't hurt. But I'm not -- I'm doing it not for the election. I want it fast because I want to save a lot of lives. Reporter: But many of his own scientists think it will be later. My projection, which is only a projection, is that somewhere towards the end of the year, the beginning of 2021, we will know whether we have a safe and effective vaccine. Reporter: There's hope in some of the numbers. New cases in 11 states are decreasing. But the number of people dying is still alarming. More than 158,000 Americans, and more than 2,000 reported in the last 24 hours. Tonight, the white house task force is warning authorities in nine cities and the central valley of California that they're at risk for a jump in cases. I give it two weeks and someone's going to die. Someone that didn't have to die. Reporter: Many teachers across the country are scared and in the streets, trying to talk their schools out of in-person instruction. The stress. The fear. Reporter: These pictures all over the internet of crowded hallways from a school in Paulding county, Georgia, aren't helping ease concerns. The mother of the student who recorded them says her child has been suspended. A principal was heard on the school's P.A. Discouraging students from sharing these photos. There will be consequences for both students or anyone who sends out those pictures. Please be careful. Reporter: The consequences of getting sick were incredibly painful for the riches family in Florida. Their grandmother and her two sons died in one week and had to die alone. I just hope that when he passed away -- When he passed away -- I just hope that when he passed away, he was able to build his stairs to heaven. Finding some grace during this very painful time. Steve osunsami joins us now, and Steve, a new model out from the university of Washington is now predicting nearly double where we are right now, 300,000 deaths, by the end of the year? Reporter: That's right, Tom. And that's a model the administration follows, and that model also predicts that if everyone in America walked out of their homes and wore a mask, that we would save about 66,000 lives. Here at this high school behind me, the school system is approaching things cautiously. Students here will remote learn. Tom? Steve osunsami with that big new prediction out tonight. Steve, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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