With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spiking in several states, the White House Coronavirus Task Force is taking a quieter, toned-down approach to dealing with the pandemic.
As Politico noted, the task force has not held a press conference since early May and officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has drastically reduced his media appearances to discuss COVID-19 and the government's response to it.
President Donald Trump has even announced a return of his political rallies within two weeks.
But experts say the crisis, which has seen more than 2 million Americans get sick and more than 114,000 die, is far from over.
"Cases are rising, including from cases in congregate settings," Dr. Luciana Borio, the National Security Council director for Medical and Biodefense Preparedness from 2017-2019, told Politico. "We still have a pandemic."
The U.S. has increased its testing capacity, and over the last month the number of new confirmed cases has hovered around 20,000 every day, with some spikes close to 30,000. The number of virus-related deaths has dropped in recent weeks, however, to around 1,000. On May 6, more than 2,500 people died of the virus.
Politico reported that the Trump administration is reorganizing its response to the pandemic by assigning the Department of Health and Human Services to lead the effort. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had been in charge before.
According to covidexitstrategy.org, a website run by public health and crisis experts, almost 20 states are "trending poorly" in terms of new cases, hospitalizations, and ICU usage. North Carolina, for example, has an ICU utilization rate of 63%. Arizona has seen a 198% increase in new cases over the last 14 days.
Rhode Island is labeled as "making progress" but has an ICU utilization rate of 78% and a COVID-19 fatality rate of 13.1%.
Florida, Georgia, Texas, and many western states also are trending downward when it comes to progress being made in the fight against the virus.
Complicating matters is the fact that people are gathering en masse to protest the death of George Floyd and other African Americans who have died in police custody. According to McClatchy, members of the Washington, D.C., National Guard tested positive after helping local and federal law enforcement with the protests.
States are in various reopening phases, something Trump cheered during remarks he made about economic gains last week.
"We had the greatest economy in the history of the world. And that strength let us get through this horrible pandemic, largely through. I think we're doing really well," he said.
"We were able to close our country, save millions of lives, open. And now the trajectory is great."
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