WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is expected to announce soon formation of a second coronavirus task force, this one devoted to getting the U.S. economy going again when the time is right, a senior administration official said on Thursday.
Trump said earlier this week that he was considering the idea as he ponders when to bring back greater economic activity and rebound from a virus-induced collapse in the economy that has left millions jobless.
The task force is expected to include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow, among others, the official said.
Trump’s original task force, which includes health experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, is devoted to slowing the spread of the virus and finding drugs to treat the illness and a vaccine. They are expected to have input on any decision on when broader economic activity should resume.
Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, is eager to bring the economy back to life and said on Wednesday he would like to have a “big bang” reopening but that it might have to be done in phases, starting in areas with fewer infections.
Kudlow said on Tuesday it was possible to resume economic activity in four to eight weeks.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said “this unforeseen, unprecedented crisis has hurt many workers and businesses” but that Trump will be careful regarding when to reopen the economy.
“The president wants to see this economy open again so people can get back to work, but scientific data will drive the timeline on those decisions because his number one priority is to protect the safety and well-being of the American people,” he said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)