White House plans to wind down coronavirus task force in coming weeks


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The White House is having conversations about when to wind down its coronavirus task force, and is looking at the possibility of starting to move coordination of the US response to federal agencies around the Memorial Day weekend, Vice-President Mike Pence said on Tuesday (May 5).

Pence said President Donald Trump’s administration was starting to look at the Memorial Day window of time at the end of the month to begin transitioning to having agencies manage the coronavirus response in a more traditional manner.

Administration officials are telling task force members and their staff to expect the group to wind down within weeks, according to the New York Times, which first reported bringing the task force to a close.

The task force will finish up as the White House moves forward on Trump’s plan to reopen the country after many states ordered people to stay at home in order to slow the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus.

The focus will now be on therapeutics, vaccines and other treatments, the Times reported.

Formed in March, the task force headed by Pence met frequently to address the rapidly spreading pandemic and then explained its work in nightly news briefings with Trump that often spanned more than an hour.

The group’s infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, became a household name across the country.

But as Trump turned his attention to reopening the nation’s economy, it has been less visible in recent days.

While it met on Tuesday, it did not meet on Monday or on Saturday.

Saturday meetings had been a staple earlier in the crisis.