Vice President Mike Pence announced the addition of new members to the Wuhan coronavirus task force Friday afternoon, signaling the ongoing balance of opening up the economy, shoring up crucial food supply chains and prioritizing public health.
“Thanks to President Trump’s leadership and the efforts of the American people, we’ve saved lives, Slowed the Spread, and states are Opening Up Again,” said Vice President Pence. “The new members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force will add expertise in the fields of vaccines and therapeutics as well as worker safety as the Task Force renews its focus on getting Americans back to work,” Pence released in a statement.
The new members include Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Labor Gene Scalia, Director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins, FDA Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks and Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration Thomas Engels.
Earlier this month Pence said the task force could wind down by Memorial Day. Those plans appear to be changing and President Trump issued a clarification about the future of their work.
"The White House CoronaVirus Task Force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, has done a fantastic job of bringing together vast highly complex resources that have set a high standard for others to follow in the future. Ventilators, which were few & in bad shape, are now being produced in the thousands, and we have many to spare. We are helping other countries which are desperate for them," Trump tweeted. "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. Because of this success, the Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people."