President Trump is reportedly planning to launch an additional coronavirus task force.
The White House is expected to announce the formation of a second task force amid the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis that will be "aimed specifically at combating the economic ramifications of the virus and focused on reopening the nation's economy," The Washington Post reports. This will be in addition to the current coronavirus task force, which consists of officials including Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and national economic adviser Larry Kudlow are reportedly among those expected to make up this second economy-focused task force, which will have some overlap in membership with the first one and which the Post says will be a "mix of private-sector and top administration officials." CNN reports, in fact, "there has been outreach to figures" like Gary Cohn, former director of the National Economic Council, and "even major sports teams and well-known athletes."
This news comes as the Labor Department on Thursday reported that over the past three weeks, nearly 17 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims.
Axios is also reporting that the economy-focused task force comes at a time when "there is growing energy within the West Wing to start easing people back to work by May," although health officials caution against prematurely lifting social distancing guidelines. Still, Trump's economic team has advised him to "issue economic guidelines in addition to ones about best health practices," CNN reports.
Mnuchin during a Thursday appearance on CNBC said the administration is doing "everything necessary [so] that American companies and American workers can be open for business" possibly as soon as May. A White House spokesperson told the Post, though, that "scientific data will drive the timeline on those decisions." Brendan Morrow