Thursday, May 7, 2020

President Trump says coronavirus task force will continue 'indefinitely,' shift focus to reopening and vaccines, and Other Coronavirus Updates

President Trump on Wednesday said the coronavirus task force would continue “indefinitely” but would shift its focus to safely re-opening the country amid the coronavirus pandemic — following indications from his administration that officials were considering winding the group down.
“The White House Coronavirus Task Force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, has done a fantastic job of bringing together vast highly complex resources that have set a high standard for others to follow in the future,” the president tweeted.
“Ventilators, which were few & in bad shape, are now being produced in the thousands, and we have many to spare. We are helping other countries which are desperate for them,” he continued, touting the task force’s efforts. “Likewise, after having been left little, we are now doing more testing than all other countries combined, and with superior tests.”
He added: “Face masks & shields, gloves, gowns, etc. are now plentiful.”
The president said his “last four Governors teleconference calls have been conclusively strong.”
“Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN,” Trump tweeted. “We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate.”Trump added that the task force “will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics.”
The president’s tweets come after officials indicated the administration has been in talks over potentially winding down the task force, even as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow in the U.S. and as sectors of the economy begin to reopen.
Vice President Pence, who has led the task force, said Tuesday that White House officials were “having conversations” about finishing up the group’s business and, instead, having “agencies take over the work” — specifically mentioning the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]. Pence said, though, that the earliest the agencies could take over the group’s responsibilities would be Memorial Day or early June, if the task force itself were to be discontinued.
The task force has included Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the U.S. Global AIDS coordinator under both the Trump and Obama administrations; U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams; Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, and more.
A White House official told Fox News on Tuesday the White House has been shifting focus toward re-opening the country, as outlined in Phase 1 of the administration’s “Opening Up America Again” guidelines. The official said it would be an ongoing shift over the next several weeks.
Read the rest of the story HERE and follow links below to related stories and resources:

Trump Reverses on Disbanding Coronavirus Task Force after Learning How ‘Popular’ It Is

USA TODAY: Coronavirus live updates: Task force shifting focus; 10,000 cases in meatpacking plants; April jobs report could be worst ever

WSJ: Coronavirus Updates: MGM Warns Furloughs Could Become Layoffs

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus live updates: U.S. death toll passes 70,000

NEW YORK POST: Today’s coronavirus update: Task force back on; theft and murder in a pandemic

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