© Reuters. US President Trump travels to Camp David from the South Lawn in the White House in Washington
By Jeff Mason and Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that his coronavirus task force will focus on revitalizing U.S. business and social life and asking top Democrats in Congress to warn that ignoring science and that Need for further testing that would endanger Americans.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump said that because of its success, the task force "will continue indefinitely with its focus on SECURITY AND OPENING OUR COUNTRY. We may add or subtract people if necessary."
He added: "The task force will also be very focused on vaccines and therapeutics."
The previous task force included medical professionals who focused on fighting the pandemic. Some of them have sometimes offered contradicting Trump's guidelines, including when to stay at home and block the economy.
White House guidelines require the number of new cases to drop for 14 days, and significantly enhanced coronavirus testing and other precautions must be taken before the shutdowns can be stopped.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said she doesn't think Republican Trump should pass over at the expense of emphasizing the need for further reopening tests.
"If you undermine science, if you under-fund testing, if you exaggerate the opportunities for the economy that are at risk of killing people, that's not a plan," Pelosi told MSNBC.
"Death is not an economic motivator, not an incentive. Why are we going this way?"
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and best-known member of the task force, admitted in a CNN interview that he had lost the argument against reopening the country too quickly.
"There are counties and cities where you can do that for sure now, but there are others that make it really dangerous if you do," he said Tuesday evening.
Trump told reporters that he would announce new members of his task force by Monday.
A number of U.S. states, including Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin, saw record-breaking increases on Tuesday. Minnesota has set a new record for the nine cases in the past 14 days, including 728 new cases on Wednesday.
More than 71,000 people in the US have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and more than 1.2 million people were infected, according to a Reuters study.
The Republican Trump administration and many governors have stressed the political and social pressures they face to get the US economy going again.
Wednesday's ADP (NASDAQ 🙂 National Employment Report data showed US private employers fired a record 20.236 million workers in April, suggesting that economic closures could leave lasting scars.
Governors who have started lifting restrictions said that business reopening will be gradual and that people should continue to respect social distance and other policies.
But Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who has argued with Georgian Republican governor Brian Kemp over his reopening measures, said she saw people celebrate and celebrate on Tuesday's annual Cinco de Mayo holiday.
"It was disappointing. And what was very clear was that people didn't get the news that we were open to business," she told CNN on Wednesday.
"They haven't gotten to the part that says that this is still a deadly virus and that you still have to distance yourself socially and wear masks, and I think that's the shortcoming of this order."
Democratic governors of countries most affected by the outbreak have at times fought with Republican Trump over easing restrictions.
But even California's democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, announced plans on Monday to ease some restrictions if data continues to improve.
The downtown Los Angeles flower market opened on Wednesday for the first time since it closed after the city's mayor gave green light to some companies.
"It is good that the shops are opening again. I have two children. It was difficult," said 35-year-old florist Gregorio Garcia, when he pruned pink roses in his small open-front shop.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose city was hardest hit, said he was confident that the city had gone around the corner, but doesn't expect it to reopen in September after it left the rest on March 20 the state had been closed.
"My message to the rest of the country is: learn how much effort and discipline it took to bring these numbers down permanently and follow the same path until you are certain that you will be repelled," de Blasio told CNN .
"Or if this thing is boomerangs, postpone any kind of restart or recovery a lot longer."