Update: In a surprising reversal, President Trump has announced that the task force will continue to operate. One can only imagine how the media will spin this reversal.
Vice-President Mike Pence announced that the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force responsibilities might be shifted to different agencies, including FEMA. FEMA or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The task force held almost daily briefings for about a month during the effort to “flatten the curve,” but has briefings are becoming less frequent. Pence explained the timing of the transition.
“I think we’re starting to look at the Memorial Day window, early June window as a time when we could begin to transition back to having our agencies begin to manage—begin to manage our national response in a more traditional manner.”
Unsurprisingly, Democrats found something to criticize. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:
“It is unthinkable that President Trump would shut down the main task force established to coordinate our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while we are still in the midst of figuring out the health and economic implications of this pandemic. It is a shameful abdication of responsibility.”
But winding down the task force makes sense as states make decisions based on their incidence of coronavirus. Hospitals are not in danger of being overwhelmed and ventilators and testing are abundantly available.
The president can turn his attention to the emerging economy after states end their lockdowns. Pence said: “So far, 41 states have announced plans to partially reopen with the other nine planning to release plans soon.”
Critics of ending the lockdown predict that opening the country up could lead to more COVID-19 deaths.
I’m not saying anything is perfect. And, yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.”