Coronavirus Task Force Holds First Briefing in Months as Outbreak Spreads

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Members of the coronavirus task force are expected to hold a press conference on Friday, the first in two months.

The task force has been out of public view since the White House on April 27 stopped hosting what had been almost daily briefings.

Friday’s briefing comes as the outbreak spreads in numerous states, including California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida and Texas, which are registering a record number of new infections.

Vice President Mike Pence will lead the briefing, which will take place at the Department of Health and Human Services rather than at the White House.

Briefings in the past were often controversial when President Donald Trump and health officials were criticized for the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump in one of these briefings generated widespread criticism when he suggested that injecting disinfectant into the body may help treat the coronavirus. He later tried to back down those comments, saying he was being sarcastic.

Members of the working group include Pence; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar; Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator; and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries, with more than 9.6 million confirmed cases worldwide and more than 489,731 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States has had at least 2.4 million cases and 124,415 deaths, according to the latest counts.

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