Trump says coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely’

President Trump said the coronavirus task force will “continue on indefinitely” on Wednesday, a day after Vice President Pence said the group will begin to wind down and turn over responsibility for combating the pandemic to the states.

“The Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people to it, as appropriate,” the president said in a Twitter post. “The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics. Thank you!”

He lauded Pence for doing a “fantastic job of bringing together vast highly complex resources that have set a high standard for others to follow in the future.”

The president went on to say medical supplies, like masks and ventilators, “are now being produced by the thousands, and we have many to spare.”

“Likewise, after having been left little, we are now doing more testing than all other countries combined, and with superior tests. Face masks & shields, gloves, gowns etc. are now plentiful. The last four Governors teleconference calls have been conclusively strong,” the president said.

The vice president on Tuesday confirmed a report in the New York Times that the task force was winding down operations by the end of the month.

“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,” Pence said.

The president said the country was moving into another stage in fighting the pandemic and confirmed the task force would be replaced by an advisory group.

He said Americans are itching to get back to work.

“I’m viewing our great citizens of this country to a certain extent and to a large extent as warriors. They’re warriors,” Trump said when asked about the decision during a tour of a mask-making factory in Arizona.

“We have to open our country. Will some people be affected, badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open.”

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