Trump administration forms coronavirus committee

The group will create a direct line to scientific and academic experts

Fears of a U.S. coronavirus outbreak are mounting as cases are confirmed in countries around the globe, so the Trump administration is establishing a committee to study and respond to the virus.

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The Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Disases and 21st Century Health Threats, as the group will be known, will focus on a number of tasks, including ways to build science into national preparedness and political decision making, national policy discussions, addressing misinformation and responding to requests from the federal government.

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“With the complexities of assessing and responding to emerging infectious diseases, a standing committee will build on the great work being done by the Trump Administration to rapidly engage with experts from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the academic community, and relevant stakeholders from the broader science community,” White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier said in a statement. “This committee is a critical tool for examining emerging infectious diseases, like the COVID-19 outbreak, and providing expedited, strategic input to policymaking processes.”

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“This committee is a critical tool for examining emerging infectious diseases, like the COVID-19 outbreak, and providing expedited, strategic input to policymaking processes.”

- Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, policy director of the White House Office of Science and Technology 

President Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. coronavirus response this week, as the CDC warned the virus could break out domestically.

The virus has infected more than 83,000 people across the globe – and resulted in more than 2,700 deaths.

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In the U.S., at least 60 people had been infected – including individuals that had been repatriated from affected areas. The first case of an individual infected without a known vector was identified by the CDC on Wednesday in California, sparking fears of community spread.

Worries about the virus have caused a massive selloff in the stock market, as the S&P 500 fell into correction territory.

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