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The US has seen a terrible toll from COVID-19, with the highest amount of cases and deaths worldwide. In total as of June 25, the US has seen 2,422,091 cases and 124,410 deaths. Despite the continuing pandemic, many states have begun reopening businesses and easing lockdown measures.
Friday morning will see Vice President Mike Pence lead the first public coronavirus task force meeting in two months.
At least 30 states are seeing COVID-19 cases resurge after easing measures.
California, Oklahoma and Texas, among other states, are seeing record high peaks.
A schedule released by the White House saws that the meeting will take place at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Originally meeting daily, the task force has been relegated to meeting once or twice a week according to CNN.
Member’s engagement with President Donald Trump has been diminished as well, after originally heavily influencing policy decisions.
Key members of the task force have also been less visible in recent weeks, with the president’s daily press briefings now focusing on reopening.
Dr Anthony Fauci, who has been praised for his honesty about the virus’ danger, has been sidelined in recent weeks, and on June 1 it was reported that Fauci hadn’t spoken with Trump in two weeks.
The public briefing comes after President Trump has been attempting to declare the pandemic as “over” despite rising cases.
Trump has also resumed his re-election campaign rallies, to much derision from health experts that the events could be super spreaders.
Tulsa, Oklahoma saw Trump’s first rally in months, and has seen rising cases of the virus.
Eight of Trump’s advanced staff have tested positive for the virus after the rally and are now are in quarantine, as well as campaign staffers.
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Fauci recently made an appearance before the House Energy and Commerce committee, where he and other task force members were asked about their contact with the president.
Fauci again said that he hadn’t spoken to the president for two and a half weeks.
But he also told reporters that he regularly speaks with Vice President Pence and gets information to Trump via him.
Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at HHS, also testified he had last talked to Trump about two and a half to three weeks ago.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn told Barragan it had been “some time” since he had last spoken with the President about the pandemic response.
Fauci also told Congress on Tuesday that the the Trump administration abruptly slashed funding in April for a research grant to the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, with more than $350,000 still in the group’s 2020 grant.
When asked why funding was cancelled, Dr Fauci said: “It was cancelled because the NIH was told to cancel it.
“I don’t know the reason, but we were told to cancel it.”
The cancellation of the grant came after reports surfaced about EcoHealth Alliances’ research with a virologist at Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China, who works with bat coronaviruses.
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