The White House Coronavirus Task Force was the United States Department of State task force during the Trump administration that "coordinate[d] and overs[aw] the administration's efforts to monitor, prevent, contain, and mitigate the spread" of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).Also referred to as the President's Coronavirus Task Force, it was established on January 29, 2020, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar as chair. On February 26, 2020, U.S. vice president Mike Pence was named to chair the task force, and Deborah Birx was named the response coordinator.
The task force was succeeded by the White House COVID-19 Response Team under the Biden administration.
The first known case in the United States of COVID-19 was confirmed in the state of Washington on January 20, 2020, in a 35-year-old man who had returned from Wuhan, China on January 15.The White House Coronavirus Task Force was established on January 29, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar as its chair. On January 30, the WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and on January 31, the Trump administration declared a public health emergency, and placed travel restrictions on entry by non-citizens who had recently been in China. On February 26, U.S. vice president Mike Pence replaced Azar as chair.
|Mike Pence|| Vice President of the United States |
Chair of White House Coronavirus Task Force
|February 26, 2020|
|Deborah Birx|| United States Global AIDS Coordinator |
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator
|February 26, 2020|
| Vice Admiral |
|Surgeon General of the United States||February 26, 2020|
|Alex Azar||United States Secretary of Health and Human Services||January 29, 2020|
|Stephen Biegun||United States Deputy Secretary of State||January 29, 2020|
|Robert Blair||Senior Advisor to the White House Chief of Staff||January 29, 2020|
|Ben Carson||United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||March 1, 2020|
|Francis Collins||Director of the National Institutes of Health||May 15, 2020|
|Ken Cuccinelli||Acting United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security||January 29, 2020|
|Kelvin Droegemeier||Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy||March 1, 2020|
|Thomas J. Engels||Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration||May 15, 2020|
|Anthony Fauci||Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases||January 29, 2020|
| Admiral |
|Assistant Secretary for Health||March 13, 2020|
|Joe Grogan||Director of the Domestic Policy Council||January 29, 2020|
|Stephen Hahn||Commissioner of Food and Drugs||March 1, 2020|
|Derek Kan||Executive Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget||January 29, 2020|
|Larry Kudlow||Director of the National Economic Council||February 26, 2020|
|Chris Liddell||White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination||January 29, 2020|
|Peter Marks||Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research||May 15, 2020|
|Steven Mnuchin||United States Secretary of the Treasury||February 26, 2020|
|Robert C. O'Brien||National Security Advisor||January 29, 2020|
|Sonny Perdue||United States Secretary of Agriculture||May 15, 2020|
|Matthew Pottinger||Deputy National Security Advisor||January 29, 2020 |
Resigned January 2021
|Robert R. Redfield||Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention||January 29, 2020|
|Eugene Scalia||United States Secretary of Labor||May 15, 2020|
|Joel Szabat||Acting Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy||January 29, 2020|
|Seema Verma||Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services||March 2, 2020|
|Robert Wilkie||United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs||March 2, 2020|
The task force reviewed all coronavirus-related actions by federal agencies, and overruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) several times.The New York Times reported that the CDC's leadership has been criticized during the pandemic, for mismanaging the testing kit rollout and changing its guidance on transmission of the virus; the White House says it is following the science in overruling the CDC. In March 2020, the task force deployed a team to cope with test kit shortages across the country, overseen by Brett Giroir, recognizing that the shortages were a serious threat to the country.
Pete Gaynor, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was involvedand stated that the task force had directed FEMA to shift in March "from playing a supporting role in assisting the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, which was designated as the initial lead federal agency for the COVID-19 pandemic response, to coordinating the Whole-of Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic".
Peter Navarro was named in March the Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government.The Defense Production Act gives the President broad powers to control manufacturing during emergencies. Navarro criticized the CDC for the testing problems, and has also criticized Fauci; critics like Chuck Schumer say Navarro is unqualified for the job.
Operation Warp Speed was initiated in early April to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnosticsafter a round-table meeting with Trump, Pence and industry executives at the White House on March 2.
On September 29, the task force overruled the CDC's recommendation regarding when passenger cruise ships should be allowed to resume sailing. The CDC wanted to extend the existing "no-sail" directive until February 2021, but the task force agreed with the cruise ship industry's recommendation that the prohibition end on October 31, 2020.Two unnamed federal health officials told The New York Times that on October 9 the task force rejected a proposed CDC order requiring passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, including airplanes, trains, buses, subways, and transit hubs. A federal mask mandate was supported by some airlines and the transportation worker unions; the task force said that such orders should be left up to states and local governments.
On March 10, 2020, The Hill reported that U.S. Senate Republicans who had attended a briefing with President Donald Trump had encouraged him to hold more briefings and to make Anthony Fauci the "face of the federal government's response" because according to an unnamed senator, "he has credibility", he "speaks with authority" and he "has respect in the medical community".The role of Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar was downsized, according to the Wall Street Journal , with Pence taking a larger role.
The Task Force livestreamed press briefings at whitehouse.gov to communicate updates, guidelines, and policy changes to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.On March 16, the White House began holding the task force press briefings daily, but by late April the White House discussed reducing the frequency of these briefings. On April 25, there was no press briefing, and at that time no further press briefings had been scheduled. On May 5, Pence said that the administration was discussing "what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work"; the next day, Trump said that the task force would "continue on indefinitely" but would refocus on returning the nation to normal activity.
As the US entered a new phase of re-opening businesses and getting back to work, Pence named five new members to the task force on May 15, 2020.The task force gave a press briefing on May 15, and on May 22, Birx appeared with press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. For the rest of May and into June, the task force met once or twice weekly, behind closed doors, as the White House switched to an economic message. The task force gave another press briefing on July 8. Fauci said on July 10 that he had not given a briefing to Trump for two months, and had not seen him in person since June 2.
Anthony Stephen Fauci is an American physician-scientist and immunologist serving as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President.
Alex Michael Azar II is an American politician, attorney, businessman, lobbyist, and former pharmaceutical executive who served as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2018 to 2021. Azar was nominated to his post by President Donald Trump on November 13, 2017, and confirmed by the United States Senate on January 24, 2018. He was also chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from its inception in January 2020 to February 2020, when he was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence.
The Defense Production Act of 1950 is a United States federal law enacted on September 8, 1950 in response to the start of the Korean War. It was part of a broad civil defense and war mobilization effort in the context of the Cold War. Its implementing regulations, the Defense Priorities and Allocation System (DPAS), are located at 15 CFR §§700 to 700.93. Since 1950, the Act has been reauthorized over 50 times. It has been periodically amended and remains in force.
Stephen Michael Hahn is an American physician who served as the Commissioner of Food and Drugs from 2019 to 2021. Before becoming Commissioner, he was an oncologist serving as Chief Medical Executive of the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Robert Ray Redfield Jr. is an American virologist who served as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry from 2018 to 2021.
Deborah Leah Birx is an American physician and diplomat who served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator under President Donald Trump from 2020 to 2021. Birx specializes in HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. Starting in 2014, she oversaw the implementation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program to support HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs in 65 countries. From 2014-2020, Birx was the United States global AIDS coordinator for presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump and served as the United States special representative for global health diplomacy between 2015 and 2021. Birx was part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from February 2020 to January 2021. In March 2021, Dr. Birx joined ActivePure Technology as Chief Medical and Science Advisor.
Kelvin Kay Droegemeier is an American research meteorologist, most recently having served as Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Droegemeier is known for his research in predicting the development of extreme weather events, and previously served as Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology and the Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma. He currently is serving as Regents Professor of Meteorology, Roger and Sherry Teigen Presidential Professor, and Weathernews Chair Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma.
2020s in United States political history is a narrative summary of major political events and issues in the United States from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2029. The first part is divided chronologically by Congressional sessions and the second part highlights major issues that span several years or even the entire decade. There are links for further information.
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019. More than 41.1 million confirmed cases have been reported since January 2020, with more than 661,000 deaths, the most of any country, and the twenty-third-highest per capita worldwide. As many infections have gone undetected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that, as of May 2021, there could be a total 120.2 million infections in the United States, or more than a third of the total population. The US has about one-fifth of the world's confirmed cases and deaths. COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the US in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer. US life expectancy dropped by 3 years for Hispanic Americans, 2.9 years for African Americans, and 1.2 years for white Americans from 2019 to 2020.
The 2020 Oval Office address, officially titled On the Coronavirus Pandemic, was the second televised, prime-time Oval Office address during the presidency of Donald Trump, delivered on March 11, 2020. It was released during the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 stock market crash.
The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States during 2020.
Joseph Grogan is the former director of the United States Domestic Policy Council and assistant to President Donald Trump. Appointed by Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Grogan converted the traditionally small office into an influential policy council.
The Donald Trump administration communicated in various ways during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, including via social media, interviews, and press conferences with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Opinion polling conducted in mid-April 2020 indicated that less than half of Americans trusted health information provided by Trump and that they were more inclined to trust local government officials, state government officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Scott William Atlas is an American radiologist, political commentator, and health care policy advisor. He is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank. From 1998 to 2012 he was a professor and chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center.
The wearing of non-medical face masks in public to lessen transmission of COVID-19 in the United States was first recommended by the CDC on April 3, 2020 as supplemental to hygiene and appropriate social distancing. Over the course of the pandemic, various states, counties, and municipalities have issued health orders requiring the wearing of non-medical face coverings — such as cloth masks — in spaces and/or businesses accessible to the public, especially when physical distancing is not possible. Some areas only mandated their use by public-facing employees of businesses at first, before extending them to the general public.
The federal government of the United States initially responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country with various declarations of emergency, some of which led to travel and entry restrictions, and the formation of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. As the pandemic progressed in the U.S. and throughout the rest of the world, the U.S. government began issuing recommendations regarding the response by state and local governments, as well as social distancing measures and workplace hazard controls. State governments play a primary role in adopting policies to address the pandemic. Following the closure of most businesses throughout a number of U.S. states, President Donald Trump announced the mobilization of the National Guard in the most affected areas.
During his term as president of the United States (2017–2021), Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly politicized science by pressuring or overriding health and science agencies to change their reporting and recommendations so as to conform to his policies and public comments. This was particularly true with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, but also included suppressing research on climate change and weakening or eliminating environmental regulations.
The White House COVID-19 outbreak was a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections that began in September 2020 and ended in January 2021 that spread among people, including many U.S. government officials, who were in close contact during the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C. Numerous high-profile individuals were infected, including President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized for three days. At least 48 White House staff members or associates, closely working with White House personnel, tested positive for the virus. The White House resisted efforts to engage in contact tracing, leaving it unclear how many people were infected in total and what the origins of the spread were.
Misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic has been propagated by various public figures, including officials of the United States government. The Trump administration in particular made a large number of misleading statements about the pandemic. A Cornell University study found that U.S. President Donald Trump was "likely the largest driver" of the COVID-19 misinformation infodemic in English-language media, downplaying the virus and promoting unapproved drugs. Others have also been accused of spreading misinformation, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, backing conspiracy theories regarding the origin of the virus, U.S. senators and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who downplayed the virus.
The United States' response to the COVID-19 pandemic with consists of various measures by the medical community; the federal, state, and local governments; the military; and the private sector. The public response has been highly polarized, with partisan divides being observed and a number of concurrent protests and unrest complicating the response.
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