President Donald Trump gives his speech at the commencement ceremony for army cadets on June 13, 2020 in West Point, New York.
David Dee Delgado–Getty Images
June 18, 2020 5:26 AM EDT

The coronavirus pandemic will “fade away” even without a vaccine, but researchers are close to developing one anyhow, President Donald Trump said.

“We’re very close to a vaccine and we’re very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics,” Trump said Wednesday night in a television interview with Fox News. “But even without that, I don’t even like to talk about that, because it’s fading away, it’s going to fade away, but having a vaccine would be really nice and that’s going to happen.”

Trump’s comments come as the U.S. continues to see 20,000 new daily cases from a pandemic that so far has killed 117,000 people in the country. The president has called for easing restrictions on public activity that were imposed to slow the spread of the virus but that plunged the U.S. into recession.

Anthony Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said a vaccine could be ready by the end of the year or the first few months of 2021. More than 130 vaccines against coronavirus are in development, according to the World Health Organization.

But Fauci, a member of the White House’s mostly mothballed coronavirus task force, also warned last week that the infection won’t “burn itself out with mere public health measures.”

“We’re going to need a vaccine for the entire world, billions and billions of doses,” Fauci said in online comments on June 10 to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, an industry group.

The U.S. recently passed the 2-million mark for cases, although earlier epicenters like New York and New Jersey have seen the pandemic tail off after aggressive action to shut down their economies.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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