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Coronavirus live news: UK deaths highest in Europe as Trump looks to disband coronavirus task force | World news

Trump heads to Arizona mask plant to make case for reopening US

Donald Trump used his first cross-country trip since the pandemic began to visit an Arizona plant manufacturing medical masks, seeking to demonstrate America’s readiness to reopen the economy even as public health experts warned it was too soon.

His visit to the battleground state on Tuesday came as the White House signalled a desire to wind down the coronavirus taskforce in the coming weeks despite a continued threat from the virus.

“I’m not saying anything is perfect,” Trump told reporters in Arizona. “Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”

The visit is meant to underscore the administration’s efforts to nudge a cautious nation, still grappling with economic and public health disasters inflicted by the virus, to return to a more normal way of life. Trump has cheered moves by some governors to reopen their economies, despite a failure to meet guidelines for lifting safety restrictions issued by the White House and concern from public health officials that states are acting too quickly.

Trump poised to wind down Covid-19 taskforce as US death toll tops 70,000

Donald Trump is preparing to wind down the White House coronavirus taskforce even as the US death toll has topped 70,000 and experts warn that the worst is yet to come.

Mike Pence, the vice-president and taskforce chair, said on Tuesday that coordination of the pandemic response could be transferred back to federal agencies in late May or early June.

But in the wake of a leaked internal White House report suggesting that the daily US death toll will climb to 3,000 per day by June, the move is likely to fuel concerns that Trump has all but abandoned a public health strategy in favour of economic imperatives.

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