Great Britain

Coronavirus task force officials reportedly offended at White House claim Covid-19 has ended

Officials working as part of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force have reportedly said that they are offended by the White House claiming that it successfully ended the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a report, which said that it considered “ending the Covid-19 pandemic” to be one of Donald Trump’s major accomplishments since he became president in 2016.

“From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academic, industry, and government to understand, treat and defeat the disease,” the report read.

On Wednesday, one official from the White House coronavirus task force told The Daily Beast that the announcement was “mind-boggling.”

They added: “There’s no world in which anyone can think that [statement] is true. Maybe the president. But I don’t see how even he can believe that. We have more than 70,000 new cases each day.”

Four of the officials told The Daily Beast that they viewed the White House statement as a personal slight and a hindrance to their efforts to get the pandemic under control.

Health officials and scientists said that the Trump administration often failed to listen to their suggestions, and instead chose to direct all efforts to reopening the country.

The US reported its highest-ever single day increase in coronavirus cases last Friday, with 83,000 fresh infections, while its weekly rolling average of new cases per 24 hours stands at 70,000. 

The number of fatalities from the virus is also increasing, as more than 1,200 deaths were reported due to Covid-19 last Thursday, which was the highest daily total since early September.

Mr Trump has often been accused of downplaying the virus. Earlier this week he described media coverage of the US’s official figures as a “fake news media conspiracy”, and has repeatedly claimed that the country is “rounding the curve” of the crisis.

An official said that the taskforce is “exasperated” with attempting to ensure that the administration shares the message that Americans still need to practise social distancing and other coronavirus measures.

They said that the report is just the latest example of the administration demonstrating that it does not believe it can do anything else to contain the pandemic.

One senior administration added: “The White House is operating on a completely different speed than the rest of the health agencies.

“They’ve all but given up on the idea that there is more to do in terms of getting a handle on these new cases that are popping up. The rest of us still view the threat of those cases as the top concern.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 8.8 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 227,409.

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