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Trump announces return of coronavirus briefings amid ‘big flare-up’

With the novel coronavirus running rampant across much of the U.S., more states are facing a dilemma about whether to shut down again. In Washington, D.C., political leaders are confronting their own critical choices over a potential new round of federal pandemic legislation. But President Trump says the states have already been given enough aid to ramp up virus testing. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The resurgence of COVID-19 has more of the country facing a choice tonight: Mask up or shut down. And, in Washington, it has political leaders facing critical choices of their own.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    At the height of the summer, the pandemic is hitting new heights. Today, in Florida, cases topped 10,000 for the sixth day in a row. But despite those figures, Governor Ron DeSantis repeated calls for schools to reopen this fall.

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.:

    We just got to be guided by the evidence and data and make sure that we're putting the interest of kids first and giving parents the choices that they deserve.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Today, the Florida Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, sued DeSantis over that decision.

    Meanwhile, at the White House, the continued virus surge is forcing an about-face on strategy. Today, President Trump said his COVID-19 briefings with top health experts will likely resume tomorrow.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We have had this big flare-up in Florida, Texas, a couple of other places. And so I think what we're going to do is, I will get involved and we will start doing briefings.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president met with Republican congressional leaders to begin talks on a fifth round of coronavirus relief.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We're working on negotiating with the Democrats on trying to get a plan that helps small business, helps people, helps this country.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Back in May, Democrats in the House passed a bill to provide another $3 trillion. But Senate Republicans are eying a narrower $1 trillion package expected to be finalized tomorrow.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    We're looking for a theme here. Think liability protections for those who have been trying to deal with the pandemic. We don't need an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic we're already struggling with.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    A major sticking point in negotiations, money for testing.

    In an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday, President Trump said that responsibility falls on the states.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Some governors have done well. Some governors have done poorly. They're supposed to have supplies they didn't have. I supplied everybody.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    He also took another shot at Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

  • President Donald Trump:

    He's a little bit of an alarmist. That's OK. A little bit of an alarmist.

  • Chris Wallace:

    He's a bit of an alarmist?

  • President Donald Trump:

    A little bit of an alarmist.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    And he said a nationwide order mandating masks would not do enough to slow the spread.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don't believe in that, no. And I don't agree with the statement that, if everybody wore a mask, everything disappears.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Despite that, this afternoon President Trump tweeted this photo of himself wearing a mask. He wrote — quote — "Many people say it is patriotic to wear a face mask. There is nobody more patriotic than me."

    Today on Fox News, Surgeon General Jerome Adams pleaded with Americans to leave politics aside and cover up.

  • Jerome Adams:

    I'm begging you. Please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say wear a face covering.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Other countries, with far fewer cases than the U.S., are embracing face coverings as the new normal.

    And on the vaccine front, new research by scientists at Oxford University is showing early promise.

  • Adrian Hill:

    We have found that, in over 1,000 people, the safety profile looks rather good and reassuring. And, importantly, we are seeing good immune responses in almost everybody.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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