White House considers phasing out coronavirus task force

The White House is considering slowly winding down its coronavirus task force in the coming weeks or months, a source told CNBC on Tuesday.

Vice President Mike Pence, who oversees the task force, confirmed in a meeting with reporters Tuesday that the administration is having conversations about transitioning the coronavirus response to other federal agencies.

The administration is looking at conducting that transition in early June, Pence reportedly said.

The gradual phase-out of the group would come as states begin relaxing their strict social distancing measures – even as some regions see an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

The group, which includes response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, has already been moved out of the spotlight. On-camera press briefings with the task force, once a near-daily occurrence, have not been held since April 24, and the source told CNBC that the operation has been meeting less frequently.

But Fauci told CBS in an interview Tuesday afternoon that the task force is not winding down.

“That’s not true, I’ve been in every task force meeting, and that’s not what they are doing,” Fauci said, CBS reported.

The New York Times first reported earlier Tuesday that the task force would be wound down in the weeks ahead, and that it may never be formally disbanded. It is unclear if any other group might replace the current task force.

Pence advisor Olivia Troye and other top White House staff have told senior officials involved in the group to expect it to wind down within weeks, the newspaper reported.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on reporting of a phase-out for the task force. 

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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