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Trump says coronavirus task force to shift focus, drawing criticism

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 6, 2020 - Duration: 02:31s

Trump says coronavirus task force to shift focus, drawing criticism

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.

This report produced by Chris Dignam.

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Trump says coronavirus task force to shift focus, drawing criticism

TRUMP: "The task force will be around..." President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the White House coronavirus task force would remain in place, a day after saying it would be replaced with something different.

TRUMP ON MAY 5: "...we'll have something in a different form." And Trump said he would announce new members of the coronavirus task force by Monday, as its focus turns to medical treatments and easing lockdown measures.

TRUMP: "I thought we could wind it down sooner, but I had no idea how popular the task force is until, actually, yesterday.

When I started talking about winding it down I'd get calls from very respected people, saying 'I think it would be better to keep it going.

It's done such a good job.'

[FLASH] It's very respected.

People said we should keep it going, so let's keep it going.

And, so, we'll be doing that, but we'll be adding some people to it." Some wondered what a reconfigured task force would mean for its two leading medical experts: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.

Fauci has at times offered guidance at odds with Trump's, including on when to ease stay-at-home orders and lockdowns on the economy.

On Tuesday, he acknowledged in a CNN interview that he was losing the argument against reopening the country too quickly.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she did not believe the president should pivot to reopening, adding: "If you undermine science, if you underfund testing, if you exaggerate the opportunity that is out there for the economy at the risk of people dying, that's not a plan." 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.

But some states aren't waiting.

In fact, a number of U.S. states saw a record increase in cases on Tuesday, including Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin, while Illinois, Mississippi and Arizona reached new record deaths.

On Tuesday, Trump visited Arizona, where he toured a mask manufacturing facility without wearing a mask, as the Guns N' Roses cover of "Live and Let Die" blared over the factory's PA system.

This week, a key mortality model often cited by the White House was revised because of "rising mobility in most U.S. states" with an easing of stay-at-home orders.

The model now sees U.S. coronavirus deaths almost doubling to nearly 135,000 by August.

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