© Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer RNC Chair Michael Steele attends day two of the DNC on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ex-GOP official said he was "exhausted" with people flouting COVID-19 pandemic rules last night.
The former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he was "exhausted" with anti-maskers on Wednesday night as he railed against Americans not following pandemic rules.
Appearing on MSNBC's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, the ex-RNC chair said there was "only so much you can say" to people refusing to wear masks or follow other COVID-19 rules as he leveled criticism at the Trump administration.
He also said it was "beyond the imagination" that people adhering to COVID-19 rules had to "literally beg" anti-maskers to save themselves from catching the disease, which has so far killed more than 196,000 Americans.
Speaking to MSNBC last night, Steele said: "I'm exhausted. I'm exasperated. You know, at this point it's like, save who you can save, because there's only so much you can do, there's only so much you can say.
"The fact we have to literally beg people to wear a mask to save their own dumb a** from getting sick, I'm sorry. To me it is beyond the imagination."
He later added that he was "exhausted" with President Donald Trump and his administration, which he argued had done "jack" about the coronavirus pandemic.
"In the face of what see happening on college campuses right now, as we turn into fall, we all knew this was coming," Steele said. "And yet, this administration had done jack about it."
The former GOP official hit out at anti-maskers as the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the U.S. topped the 6.6 million mark and related deaths neared 200,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. A further 2.5 million Americans infected with the disease have reported recovering from the virus since the pandemic began in March.
The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows the number of COVID-19 cases in each state across the U.S. © StatistaStatista
As the infection and deaths statistics have continued to rise, President Trump has repeatedly promised to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine before the end of this year and bring life back to some form of normality.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield contradicted the president's timeline on Wednesday, telling a Senate subcommittee that a vaccine was unlikely to be widely available until at least the second quarter of next year.
"If you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021," he told lawmakers.
Trump later told reporters that the CDC director had made a "mistake" when he spoke to senators earlier in the day, repeating his claim that a vaccine would possibly be available to the U.S. public as early as mid-October.
At the time of writing, no COVID-19 vaccines currently on trial have received federal approval for full use, but many have expanded into their second and third phases of testing.
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