US President Donald Trump promised on Monday to resume televised coronavirus briefings and spoke out in favor of mask-wearing - a marked change of tune as polls show him headed for election disaster.
With only just over 100 days until the election against Democrat Joe Biden, Trump is scrambling to respond to public anger over his troubled months-long handling of the pandemic. Since the virus first hit the United States, Trump has insisted that it will just disappear.
But that sunny claim is now badly strained even among loyal supporters, as they watch COVID-19 cases surge through populous Republican-led states such as Florida and Texas.
More widely, polls show public trust in Trump's management of the crisis tanking.
Throughout, he has sought to deny the seriousness of the problem, an attitude symbolized by his mockery of masks and refusal to back up doctors' recommendations for mass use.
Trump went some way to addressing that Monday with a tweeted picture of himself in a black mask with the presidential seal and a call for patriotism.
We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance, Trump wrote. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!
However, his tweet stopped well short of endorsing calls from some for a nationwide mandate to wear masks in public.
Trump, a lifelong real estate salesman and more recently reality TV performer, said the real problem is that Americans just aren't hearing the right news.
So, likely from Tuesday he will resume the regular evening televised briefings from the White House that he gave until late April, often finding himself accused of giving confusing or misleading information.
I think it's a great way to get information out to the public, he told reporters. We're doing very well in so many different ways.
Trump has great faith in his ability before the cameras. He has transformed the image of the US presidency during his first term with unprecedented streams of press conferences, tweets and rallies.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, he once again claimed that the virus, which has killed more than 140,000 Americans and caused massive economic disruption, would somehow go away by itself. I'll be right eventually, he said.
But with the virus on the rebound, he finds himself accused of failing to lead.
Biden has opened a double-digit lead in election polls, and an ABC/ Washington Post poll released Friday showed nearly two-thirds of Americans mistrust Trump on the coronavirus.
Trump, nevertheless, appears to be looking forward to his chance to get back to the briefing room podium.
We had very successful briefings. I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching. In the history of cable television, there's never been anything like it, he said.