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Trump's task force invisible as cases surge again

October 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: (L-R) Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attend a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in the press briefing room of the White House on March 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the United States, with New York's case count doubling every three days according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The often-at-odds collection of health experts and political figures who comprise President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force now appear less influential than ever as Covid-19 cases begin to spike again three weeks before Election Day.

(CNN)The often-at-odds collection of health experts and political figures who comprise President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force now appear less influential than ever as Covid-19 cases begin to spike again three weeks before Election Day. While still technically in place, people close to the White House task force and others inside the administration describe a panel that has, for all practical purposes, been swept aside by politics and competing interests.

Instead of advising Trump on a response, members of the task force now find themselves entirely at odds with a President whose own bout with the disease has only emboldened him further to ignore their recommendations.

And task force officials haven't conducted a briefing from the White House in weeks as Trump looks to convey a cheery view of the crisis, despite the new increases.

During a call with reporters on Monday that included none of the task force's medical experts, White House senior administration officials discussed a controversial declaration written by some scientists that advocates for ending lockdowns, building immunity and pushing for those who are not vulnerable to Covid-19 to resume normal life.

Privately, Trump was irritated to learn Fauci had deemed his Rose Garden announcement of a new Supreme Court nominee a "super spreader" event and has bristled when Fauci and others on the task force caution against major gatherings like his political rallies.

According to Olivia Troye, a former top adviser to Pence who left the White House and has now become an outspoken critic of Trump, the President would routinely ignore warnings offered by his health advisers during task force meetings.

She described a systematic silencing of the task force experts as the pandemic worsened and White House officials decided against listening to the administration's top health advisers, including Fauci.

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