Day after US President Donald Trump announced the gradual closure of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the President clarified Wednesday that it’s going to stay for now and that new members would be added to it.
In a statement to PTI, Trump said, “We are keeping the task force for a period of time. I look forward to when we can close the task force, because then the job will be essentially hopefully over.” Headed by Vice President Mike Pence, the task force was established by Trump in January.
The US has recorded over 70,000 deaths and 12 lakh confirmed infections, while Europe has reported over 140,000 dead.
“The task force has done a great job and I had a meeting yesterday, I had a meeting this morning probably even more importantly, and so we will be leaving the task force indefinitely,” the president told reporters a day after he and Pence said it would be closed by next month.
However, there was an opposition to this move.
“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 would get calls from very respected people, saying I think it would be better to keep it going, it has done such a good job, it is a respected task force,” Trump was quoted as saying by PTI at a White House event recognising National Nurses Day.
“You know at a certain point it will end like things end, but we will be adding some people to the task force and they will be more in the neighbourhood probably of opening our country up, because our country has to get open again and the people wanted it to be open. But we have to open it up safely, so we will be adding two or three additional members to the task force,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
“There may be one or two that will be less involved that were more involved with the original formation of the ventilator and the ventilator systems, but if they want to stay, they can, because they really did a fantastic job. So, at a certain point, we will not need the task force, but we are going to leave that. We are going to add a couple of people to it and that will lead again before the opening of our country,” the president added.
<p “width=420″ lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Just now, President @realDonaldTrump welcomed incredible healthcare warriors to the Oval Office in honor of National Nurses Day! pic.twitter.com/fsszeyf8rV— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 6, 2020
At a separate White House event, Trump informed that two of its top health officials, Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx, would continue to be members of the task force.
Meanwhile, an Associated Press analysis has found that the rest of the US, leaving aside New York metropolitan area’s progress against the coronavirus, is moving in the wrong direction, with the known infection rate rising even as states move to lift their lockdowns.
(With inputs from AP, PTI)