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Mark Alexander / May 7, 2020

CV19 Task Force — Resurrected Before Death

Mixed messaging on the administration's response and recovery Task Force does not build public confidence.

On Tuesday, affirming the administration’s position that the increase in the CV19 disease case load will be more manageable by June, Task Force chairman Mike Pence said there are discussions “about what the proper time is for the Task Force to complete its work.” He added, “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 our national response in a more traditional manner.” President Donald Trump later confirmed these discussions.

Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said she would remain an adviser to the administration for the rest of the year to “keep a close eye on the data.” She added, “Because we have very good data now, it took us a while to build that capacity and we’ll make sure that we’re watching that at a federal level.”

Apparently, somebody forgot to tell Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has often arrogantly contradicted the Task Force while basking in the light of his newfound CNN infamy. When he was asked about the phasedown, he responded, “That’s not true. I’ve been in every Task Force meeting, and that’s not what they are doing.”

By Wednesday, the discussions to dissolve the Task Force hit reverse gear. President Trump said, “Because of [its] success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on safety of opening up our country again.” According to Trump: “I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the Task Force is until … I started talking about winding down. I got calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it would be better to keep it going, it’s done such a great job.’ So the task force will be around until we feel it’s not necessary.” (“Popular”?)

In a national pandemic with a collapsing economy — now 33 million jobless claims with about 12 million more who are eligible for unemployment compensation — mixed messaging on the Task Force responsible for managing the nation’s response and recovery does not build public confidence.

For the record, as I recommended in March, President Trump should shift focus from the CV19 Task Force to full focus on economic recovery by setting up a “Back to Work Task Force” instead of the “commission” he established, which has no clear task.

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