Dr. Fauci Says Trump Hasn’t Been to White House COVID-19 Task Force Meetings in ‘Several Months’

Donald Trump has been absent from White House COVID-19 task force meetings for “several months,” says White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Fauci.

According to CNBC, Vice President Pence leads the task force meetings that used to occur every day during the first few months of the pandemic but have now been scaled down to one virtual meeting a week despite cases continuing to rise.

“We certainly interact with the vice president at the task force meetings, and the vice president makes our feelings and what we talk about there known to the president,” Fauci told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. 

Related: Fauci quotes ‘The Godfather’ in response to Trump criticisms

Trump apparently receives all of his information via Pence and coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas, according to the director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins, who did an interview with NPR on Monday. Dr. Collins also sits on the task force.

“The President is routinely briefed about the coronavirus each and every day,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews told CNBC in a statement. “The relevant information is brought to him on the big decisions, and then he moves forward in the way that’s best for our country.”

While the President misses task force meetings, the United States is averaging nearly 61,000 new cases of COVID-19 on a daily basis, CNBC cited. Texas currently has the most cases out of any other state of the last seven days, currently sitting at 35,292 according to CDC COVID data tracker.

Trump has also gone on record to ridicule Dr. Fauci, saying that he is tired of listening to him. 

“Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” he said, later repeating himself and raising the number even higher. “If there’s a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less.”

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California’s feared surge of virus cases hasn’t happened

That hasn’t happened. Instead, state data shows hospitalizations have fallen by about 15% since that warning while the weekly average number of new cases continues to decline even as other more populous states like Florida, Ohio and Illinois see increases.

California’s good news isn’t enough to change what Newsom calls his “slow” and “stubborn” approach to reopening the world’s fifth-largest economy. He again cautioned people against “being overly exuberant” about those coronavirus numbers, pointing to a “decline in the rate of decline” of hospitalizations.

While California’s 14-day average of hospitalizations is down, the 7-day average is up ever so slightly to 2,241 patients. The number peaked in July at more than 7,100.

“Boy, what more of a reminder do you need than seeing these numbers begin to plateau?” Newsom said Monday during his weekly news conference.

But Brad Pollock, associate dean of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, said this shows models that try to predict how the coronavirus will behave are “not that great.”

“We don’t have a model that accurately predicts what’s going to happen next,” he said.

Hospitalizations are trending younger in Los Angeles County, where people 18 to 29 now account for about 10% of all coronavirus-related hospitalizations compared with 5% in mid-May. Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said it was one of the troubling trends in the nation’s most populous county with about 10 million residents.

Collectively, people 18 to 49 now account for 58% of all new coronavirus cases in the county.

“If you were to add teenagers in the mix — these are oftentimes young people who may be out socializing — individuals between the ages of 12 and 50 account for fully 68%,” she said.

Newsom’s go-slow approach has frustrated the state’s tourism industry, which is trying to recover after seven months of shutdown. As of last week, the state has lifted its most severe restrictions on all but 10 of the state’s 58 counties, with another update scheduled for Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Newsom administration for the first time said it was OK for up to three households to gather but only if it is outdoors and people remain socially distanced.

But Newsom still has not allowed for large public gatherings or theme parks to reopen, even with modifications. The Walt Disney Co. has criticized the state for delaying reopening rules for theme parks, saying it contributed to the company’s decision to lay off 28,000 workers at its parks in California

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