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House says Coronavirus Task Force reports contradict administration statements

The House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis on Monday released eight weekly reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, saying they contradict public statements made by the Trump administration. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
The House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis on Monday released eight weekly reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, saying they contradict public statements made by the Trump administration. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The House on Monday released eight weekly reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which it said contradicted public statements from the Trump administration.

Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, released the state reports compiled by the task force that previously were released only to the governors of the respective states.

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In a statement, Clyburn said the reports "directly contradict the administration's rosy public statements downplaying the threat of the virus."

"The Task Force reports released today show the White House has known since June that coronavirus cases were surging across the country and many states were becoming dangerous 'red zones' where the virus was spreading fast," he said.

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The reports were released to states from June 23 to Aug. 9 and detail the rates of new cases in states, as well as other data related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report issued June 23 said that seven states were in a "red zone," indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population and/or test positivity above 10%. The task force also found that cases were up 70% in Arizona, 72% in Texas, 87% in Florida, 93% in Oklahoma and 134% in Idaho.

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The subcommittee's statement noted that Vice President Mike Pence had written in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that "panic" over rising COVID-19 infections was "overblown."

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In the most recent report from Aug. 9, the task force found that 48 states and Washington, D.C., were either in a red zone or a yellow zone -- indicating between 10 and 100 new cases per 100,000 population and/or test positivity between 5% and 10% -- and warned that cases in Indiana continued at "a high plateau."

The subcommittee noted that President Donald Trump tweeted: "Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!"

It also stated that states including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma failed to comply with key task force recommendations, despite acknowledging receiving the task force's reports and recommendations.

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White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere criticized the subcommittee's decision to release the reports in a statement to CNN.

"In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, some members of Congress have chosen to irresponsibly issue a partisan report completely for the purpose of falsely distorting the president's record to protect the health and safety of the American people and save millions of lives," Deere said.

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