May 7, 2020 - Today in the world of coronavirus news –
A day after indicating that the White House Coronavirus Task Force would be disbanded, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he plans to keep it after all.
Based on its success, the president said via Twitter, “the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate. The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics. Thank you!”
A day earlier, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged that the White House Coronavirus Task Force would be phased out.
Speaking to reporters at an N95 respirator mask factory in Arizona, Trump didn’t discuss the proposed change in detail, but indicated he was ready to put full focus on the restoring the national economy. He said that’s what the American people want, even though the coronavirus has not been quelled.
"The people of our country are warriors,” Trump said. “Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
Pence told reporters in Washington that administration officials have discussed shifting task force response efforts to individual departments and agencies, the Wall Street Journal reported. The phase-out was to occur in late May or early June.
The task force has advised Trump in how the administration responds to the pandemic, which as of Tuesday has killed about 70,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Sunday, Trump said the number of COVID-19 deaths could reach 100,000, which is higher than he previously estimated during daily press briefings.
The best-known members of the task force are Anthony Fauci, MD, and Patricia Birx, MD, who regularly appeared with Trump at the televised daily task force news briefings. Those televised briefings have occurred less often in recent weeks.
When pressed by reporters, Trump said the White House would still be advised by Fauci and Birx, as well as other doctors, if the task force disbands, the Journal reported.
Trump said the task force has done a good job, with testing numbers going up and new cases decreasing. Now, he said, it’s time to focus on “other phases.”