Donald Trump thinks COVID-19 fight's over?

Updated: May 07, 2020, 07:22 IST | Agencies | Washington

The Trump administration begins talks to wind down the White House Task Force on the novel Coronavirus by late May or early June, even though the infection rate rises outside of New York as states move to lift their lockdowns

A fired US vaccine expert has alleged that the Trump administration ignored doctors' concerns over the importation of hydroxychloroquine from 'uninspected' factories in India and Pakistan. Pic/AFP
A fired US vaccine expert has alleged that the Trump administration ignored doctors' concerns over the importation of hydroxychloroquine from 'uninspected' factories in India and Pakistan. Pic/AFP

The Trump administration has initiated talks on winding down the White House Task Force on COVID-19 and gradually delegating its responsibilities to the relevant federal agencies, US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday. Pence leads the task force.

"As I have said before, as we continue to practise social distancing and states engage in safe and responsible reopening plans, I truly believe — and the trend lines support it — that we could be in a very different place. And by late May and early June — and that probably represents the timetable for our agencies."

President Donald Trump also confirmed the news. Asked why is now the time to wind down the task force if there could be a recurrence, he said, "Because we cannot close our country down for the next five years. The administration has learned a lot." The president noted that health experts believe there could be a recurrence but they would need to "put it out". Over 71,000 Americans have died more than 12 lakh have been infected from COVID-19 so far.

Infection rate rising
Meanwhile, the infection rate outside of New York is rising even as states move to lift their lockdowns, an Associated Press analysis found Tuesday.

New confirmed infections per day in the US exceed 20,000, and deaths per day are well over 1,000, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

And public health officials warn that the failure to flatten the curve and drive down the infection rate in places could lead to perhaps tens of thousands of deaths as people are allowed to venture out and businesses reopen. "Make no mistakes: This virus is still circulating in our community, perhaps even more now than in previous weeks" said Linda Ochs, director of the Health Department in Shawnee County, Kansas.

HCQ warnings ignored
Fired vaccine expert Dr Rick Bright has alleged that the US ignored the concerns of doctors over the import of hydroxychloroquine from "uninspected" factories in India and Pakistan and flooded the US with the unproven and potentially dangerous drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

Italy claims to have made vaccine that neutralises COVID-19

Italian biotech firm Takis has claimed that they have developed a vaccine that neutralises COVID-19 in human cells. According to reports, the tests conducted on mice at Rome's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases showed that the vaccine generated antibodies in mice that could work on human cells too. "This is the most advanced stage of testing of a candidate vaccine created in Italy. We believe this will also happen in humans," Takis CEO Luigi Aurisicchio said.

Pak becomes 29th country with over 500 COVID-19 deaths

With a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the past week, Pakistan has now become the 29th country in the world where over 500 deaths have been reported. The Executive Director of National Institute of Health (NIH), Maj Gen Prof Dr Aamer Ikram said things would start improving for Pakistan in June, Dawn reported. But as things stand, he said the total number of cases in Pakistan could go up to 1,50,000. Pakistan's cabinet has given a nod to relax the lockdown restrictions after May 9.

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