• Dr. Deborah Birx is expected to continue reviewing and analyzing data
  • An internal White House documents projects 3,000 COVID-19 deaths a day by June 1 with the overall death toll at 134,000 by August
  • States have begin easing restrictions designed to keep the coronavirus in check, risking a spike in infections

The White House reportedly is winding down its coronavirus task force, likely sending participants back to their departments by Memorial Day. The Hill reported Vice President Mike Pence’s office confirmed the decision.

The New York Times reported the administration was considering the action. It was unclear whether anything would replace the task force, which has not held a live media briefing for days.

The decision comes as states began easing restrictions on businesses and citizens, but ahead of evidence the pandemic had reached its peaked. By early afternoon Tuesday, the U.S. reported more than 70,000 deaths. Public heath officials have warned of a possible spike as economy tries to get rolling.

A document circulating within the administration indicates the death toll could rise to 3,000 a day by June 1 from the current 1,750, for a total of more than 134,000 deaths by early August.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who has been coordinating the White House response, was expected to continue reviewing and analyzing data, as well as work with departments and agencies on decisions.

The task force is made up of nearly two dozen officials from various government agencies.

The administration has been roundly criticized for its handling for its handling of the pandemic. Testing, seen as essential to keeping the virus in check, remains sorely lacking despite claims by President Trump that tests are widely available.

Trump early on downplayed the severity of the outbreak and in recent days has repeatedly revised his prediction on its death toll, embracing overly optimistic models. Trump has swept aside his administration’s own guidelines on when states can safely reopen their economies, cheering on demonstrators who have protested stay-at-home orders and ignored social distancing guidelines.

A senior administration official told the New York Times the White House wants the focus to shift to therapeutics, vaccine development and testing.

A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released Tuesday indicates sizable majorities of Americans oppose reopening restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, fearing they could become infected by the virus.