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WATCH LIVE: Coronavirus Task Force Holds Briefing After Weeks Without One

Vice President Pence and other members of the coronavirus task force, pictured in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 29, are holding a briefing on Friday.
Image credit: Patrick Semansky

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The White House coronavirus task force will convene its first briefing in weeks as coronavirus cases spike in various parts of the country, compromising President Trump’s reopening strategy.

The task force, led by Vice President Pence, will address reporters at the Department of Health and Human Services, not the White House, as it has done in previous briefings.

As the virus continues to wreak havoc globally, hitting the United States most brutally, the nation’s leading health experts have grappled with how best to test for and contain the virus.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post on Friday that experts are seriously considering “pool testing” patients, which would test groups of people at once, rather that a single test for each individual.

This method would allow for testing centers to conserve resources by testing multiple people at once. If a test of these clusters returned positive, then individuals from the group would be tested individually.

Watch the briefing live at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Friday’s news conference will cap off a month that included a relaunched travel schedule for the president, as well as a rise in cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — in at least 20 states.

Public health experts have warned against large public gatherings, such as the ones hosted recently by President Trump, which many attended without wearing masks.

Pence has also recently restarted his travel schedule and plans to meet next week with governors and officials in Texas and Arizona to talk about the spikes in confirmed cases of coronavirus in the states. Texas announced a “pause” to its reopening this week, with additional closures implemented on Friday.

“While you see in the news over the past week or so we have rising cases and outbreaks in several southern states, I want to assure you that our task force and our entire administration is working continuously with leaders in those states to respond,” Pence said on Thursday.

Widespread protests against police brutality, sparked by the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, have further increased concerns of the virus spreading.

To that point, the World Health Organization has said it “fully supports equality and the global movement against racism,” and encouraged protesters to take all safety precautions to help limit the spread of the virus at demonstrations.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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