The Biden administration is set to disband the White House COVID-19 response team in May after the public health emergency ends.
The team was created by the Trump administration in February 2020 and played a prominent role in Trump’s final and Biden’s first years as president, particularly under Dr. Anthony Fauci’s leadership. However, as the pandemic fades from the headlines, the team is set to be disbanded in a couple of months, multiple officials told the Washington Post.
A White House official praised the work of the team in a statement to the outlet, arguing that its success meant the United States could now transition out of emergency status.
“As a result of this administration’s historic response to COVID-19, we as a nation are in a safer, better place than we were three years ago,” the official said. “COVID no longer disrupts our lives because of investments and our efforts to mitigate its worst impacts. COVID is not over, fighting it remains an administration priority, and transitioning out of the emergency phase is the natural evolution of the COVID response.”
The team was expanded to three dozen staffers under the Biden administration and was taken over by national coordinator Ashish Jha following Fauci’s departure at the end of December. Jha is expected to continue serving as its head until its disbandment.
Public attention toward the pandemic has shifted away from immediate prevention and toward figuring out the origin of the virus, which Republicans and some intelligence agencies largely believe came from a Chinese lab.