COVID-19 task force absent from spotlight amid worsening pandemic

As the nation faces a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and surging case counts, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has remained "publicly silent," The New York Times reported Nov. 11.

The U.S. reported 61,964 hospitalizations Nov. 10, surpassing the previous record of 59,940 hospitalizations reported in April, when the White House task force was holding daily media briefings about federal COVID-19 response efforts.

In late October, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNBC that the White House task force was now meeting virtually once a week. Dr. Fauci also said President Donald Trump had not attended a task force meeting in several months. 

The task force convened Nov. 9 for its first in-person meeting since Oct. 20, CNN reporter Betsey Klein's review of Vice President Mike Pence's public schedules found. Mr. Pence chairs the task force, and he reportedly canceled a vacation in Florida planned for this week, according to The Washington Post.

On Nov. 10, the task force issued its weekly pandemic report that's shared with governors, which categorized 42 states as "red zones," meaning they have a high rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom based in Washington, D.C.

While the task force has not publicly shared its current priorities or actions to address the worsening outbreak, White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, called for more aggressive action in a Nov. 2 private memo to White House officials, according to The New York Times.

Editor's note: The White House has received Becker's inquiry about the task force's latest activity. This article will be updated when their response is available.

More articles on public health:

'We are about to enter COVID hell': Experts warn of most dangerous surge yet
24 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Nov. 11
About 18% of people with COVID-19 later diagnosed with psychiatric disorder, study finds


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