The White House is expected to disband the coronavirus task force before June even though cases in the United States are still rising outside of New York, The New York Times reports.
The task force, which includes Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, along with a number of other health agency officials, has been led by Vice President Mike Pence since February.
The move comes as new infections and deaths continue to rise across most of the United States.
On Tuesday, the preferred White House model revised its death toll projection up from 70,000 to more than 130,000.
Fauci told CBS News that he was not told that the task force would be disbanded.
Trump says it’s time for phase two:
"I think we're looking at phase two and we're looking at other phases ... the task force has done a phenomenal job," Trump told reporters in Arizona on Tuesday.
"Mike Pence and the task force have done a great job, but we're now looking at a little bit of a different form, and that form is safety and opening. And we'll have a different group probably set up for that,” he said.
Trump later told ABC News that “it’s possible” more people will die as states reopen.
Pence eyes Memorial Day:
Pence told reporters that the group would wind down its work by Memorial Day.
"I think we’re having conversations about that and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work and for the ongoing efforts to take place on an agency-by-agency level,” he said. “And we’ve already begun to talk about a transition plan with FEMA. But it’s — it really is all a reflection of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.”
The President stood up the White House Coronavirus Task Force to marshal -- in January — to marshal a national response. 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,” he added.