McMaster: ‘We can thank Trump Administration’ for COVID-19 vaccine progress

McMaster: ‘We can thank Trump Administration’ for COVID-19 vaccine progress
Gov. Henry McMaster this week credited President Donald Trump and his administration for the news about a potential COVID-19 vaccine early reports show is 90% effective. (Source: WMBF)

FLORENCE, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Gov. Henry McMaster this week credited President Donald Trump and his administration for the news about a potential COVID-19 vaccine early reports show is 90% effective.

“I think there’s good news and that’s that’s something we can we can thank the Trump administration for, because, you know, they were pushing real hard,” McMaster said Monday in Florence.

“The Trump administration decided to go ahead and put the money into manufacturing the vaccine so that when and if it’s approved they would already have millions of doses,” McMaster said.

Pfizer, which is developing the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech, now is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, once it has the necessary safety information in hand.

Reporters also asked McMaster, who was in Florence for a ceremonial signing of a bill designed to streamline business licencing process, about reports that President-Elect Joe Biden planned to call on all state governors for a mask mandate. McMaster said statewide mandates are not the best way to go.

“The best way is the more local, the better,” McMaster said. “That’s why each town, each municipality, each county, they have the authority to issue such a mandate. They know the businesses, they know the population. They know the habits, they know when they’re in town, when they’re not. They know what penalties they want to enforce.”

McMaster said it also comes to a matter of having the necessary personnel to enforce such mandates, an advantage he says municipalities have.

“They have the authority, they have the people, there in the local area, in the town, or the city, or the county,” McMaster said. “We cannot do that on a statewide level. We don’t have enough enforcers. And one size never fits all on something like this.”

McMaster also said the Palmetto State handled the pandemic the right way.

“We never we never closed, we slowed down. We had restrictions. We’re open for business and South Carolina’s business is business,” he said.

McMaster also praised South Carolina’s response to COVID-19 with respect to testing sites.

“It’d be very difficult to do more on testing than we’re doing now. We’ve got plenty of sites,” McMaster said. “A lot of the people are not going to those sites because, for whatever reason, they’re just tired of hearing about testing, but they ought to go.”

McMaster said testing is how some who have no symptoms but can still spread COVID-19 find out they have it.

“So that’s why testing is such a good idea, even for people who feel fine,” he said.

“We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives.” Biden said on Monday after meeting with his COVID-19 advisory board.

Biden said a mask is not a political statement, “but it is a good way to start pulling the country together.”

Then-candidate Biden said in August there should be a nationwide protective mask mandate, citing health experts' predictions that it could save 40,000 lives from coronavirus over the next three months.

To those who would push back against such mandates, he encouraged them to “be a patriot” and to “protect your fellow citizens.”

“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum — every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing,” Biden said in August.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this story. All rights reserved.