Trump to keep U.S. coronavirus task force but may swap out advisers
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his White House coronavirus task force would remain in place but with a focus on medical treatments and easing restrictions on businesses and social life and perhaps with different advisers.
Trump had said on Tuesday he planned to replace the task force with “something in a different form.”
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, however, Trump said that because of its success, “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.”
He added: “The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics.”
The task force to date has included medical professionals focused on battling the pandemic, some of whom have at times offered guidance at odds with Trump’s, including on when to ease stay-at-home orders and lockdowns on the economy.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and most high-profile member of the task force, acknowledged in a CNN interview that he was losing the argument against reopening the country too quickly.
“There are counties and cities in which you can do that safely now, but there are others that if you do that, it’s really dangerous,” he said on Tuesday night.
White House guidelines say that the number of new cases must be trending downward for 14 days and that vastly expanded coronavirus testing and other safeguards must be put in place before the shutdowns can be phased out.
A number of U.S. states saw a record increase in cases on Tuesday, including Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin, while Arizona, Illinois, and Mississippi reached new record deaths.
More than 71,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and more than 1.2 million people have been infected, according to a Reuters tally.