The White House is planning to shut down its coronavirus task force in about a month, while the number of new confirmed cases in the United States continues to rise by more than 20,000 per day and daily death tolls sit between 1,000 and 2,000 people.  Vice President Mike Pence said the administration is considering the end of May or early June to shift management of the national response back to federal agencies instead of the task force.  He called the move “a reflection of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.”  “And as I’ve said before, as we continue to practice 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,” Pence said.  Ronald Klain, a frequent Trump critic who ran the response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa under former President Barack Obama, sharply disagreed with the administration’s plans.  “I stepped down as WH Ebola Response Coordinator when we were down to FIVE CASES A WEEK,” he wrote on Twitter.  “Yes, FIVE CASES A WEEK.”  I stepped down as WH Ebola Response Coordinator when we were down to FIVE CASES A WEEK. Yes, FIVE CASES A WEEK.— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) May 5, 2020Don’t dismantle
Ali Mokdad, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said if he were in charge, he would shift the focus of the task force instead of getting rid of it. “I would not dismantle it, but I would create a COVID-19 recovery task force,” Mokdad said.  IHME issued a new forecast Monday projecting 135,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States through the beginning of August.  It said the figures take into account easing of stay-at-home and social distancing measures that are happening in about 30 U.S. states.  The United States currently has 1.2 million confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 71,000 COVID-19 deaths.   No cure yet
There is no cure for COVID-19, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of a drug used in Ebola patients for emergency use to treat those hospitalized with COVID-19.  Remdesivir manufacturer Gilead Sciences announced Tuesday it is in talks with pharmaceutical companies about producing the drug for those in Europe, Asia and the developing world.  The company said its goal is “to make Remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.”  A U.S. trial showed the drug sped recovery time for coronavirus patients by about 30 percent.  Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline. Embed” />CopyEconomies slammed
The coronavirus pandemic has halted economies all over the world as governments told people to stay home in order to prevent further spreading of the virus.  European leaders have generally waited for the number of infections in their countries to decline before relaxing tough lockdowns, a process that is currently underway in much of the European Union.  While people are being allowed to return to work in some sectors, and more shops and restaurants are being allowed to operate, governments are still mandating people wear face masks and maintain social distancing amid concern that easing restrictions will bring a second wave of infections.  The European Commission issued a forecast Wednesday predicting a “historic” recession in the eurozone this year with an economic contraction of 7.7 percent before returning to growth in 2021.Additional spikes anticipated
In South Korea, which reported just two new cases Wednesday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged vigilance and told officials to be prepared in case there is a new spike in coronavirus cases.  Russia continues to see its infections climb, reporting more than 10,000 new confirmed cases for the fourth day in a row Wednesday.  The country now has more than 165,000 cases with 1,500 deaths.United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the need for people with disabilities to have equal access to health care and life-saving procedures, saying the coronavirus pandemic is intensifying inequalities the community faces.