Coronavirus task force briefing as Trump pushes protests


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Members of the coronavirus task force are expected to hold a press briefing Friday as tensions between President Donald Trump and governors of several states continues to grow.

Trump has said he believes some states will be able to “reopen” their economies before the end of April. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced an extension nonessential business shutdowns until at least May 15.

The two men resumed their war of words on Friday as Trump took aim in a twitter post. “Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time complaining.’ Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Cuomo complained during his daily briefing that the federal government had provided “zero, zilch, nada in unrestricted aid” in its first three Covid-19 rescue bills even as it asks states to up their efforts.

In a move likely intended to pressure state officials to reopen businesses, Trump on Friday urged residents in several states to protest and defy shelter in place orders issued by their governors.

The economic shutdown has roiled the nation and the emergency relief package passed by Congress to alleviate the burden on workers and industry is already falling short.

The Small Business Administration’s rescue loan program has hit its $349 billion limit and the nation’s lawmakers are sparring over a deal to replenish its funds. Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration will talk through the weekend to try to strike a deal on an emergency bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.

Task force members include Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar; Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus response coordinator; and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 2.1 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 146,071 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 671,400 cases in the United States and at least 33,286 deaths, according to the latest tallies.

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