White House Plans To "Wind Down" Coronavirus Task Force In Coming Weeks

In case the dire projections published yesterday by the NYT didn't scare you enough, the NYT's Maggie Haberman reports that the White House is planning to "wind down" the federal coronavirus task force without a "clear idea" of what - "if anything" - will replace it, the paper reports.

The decision comes as the White House reportedly is shifting its focus to on testing and developing a vaccine or reliable cure for the virus. Jared Kushner is said to be heading the search for a "therapeutics czar" to take over from the task force.

According to the NYT, Olivia Troye, a top Pence advisor, has told senior officials involved in the task force to expect the group to wind down within the coming weeks. That command has reportedly been "echoed" by other top White House officials.

The task force, which is still nominally led by VP Mike Pence, ceased delivering daily briefings more than a week ago after a barrage of editorials in the NYT, Washington Post and elsewhere urged the media to start ignoring the briefings due to Trump's penchant for back-patting and arguing with reporters. They finally ceased after Trump engaged in a semi-coherent tangent about cleaning products and sunlight and their ability to destroy the virus that was widely interpreted as a recommendation to inject bleach to protect from the virus.

The task force reportedly met Tuesday, but that was its first meeting since at late last week.

To be sure, a separate report from CNBC noted that the task force wouldn't be wound down for 'months', though neither report offers a definitive number.

Now that Trump has mostly handed the reins to the states, is continuing with these task force meetings really all that critical? The story doesn't say anything about Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, however, we assume that they will continue to play leading roles in the response because that's what they do. They work for DHHS and we assume will continue to be deeply involved, unless we hear otherwise.

That question isn't really answered by the NYT - thought the post did note that the pace of new cases outside the New York metro area is trending higher.