Carson, FDA commissioner added to coronavirus task force

Carson, FDA commissioner added to coronavirus task force
© Greg Nash

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson notes reveal he's 'not happy' with White House official: report Trump pledges to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, designate KKK a terrorist group in pitch to Black voters State AGs condemn HUD rule allowing shelters to serve people on basis of biological sex MORE and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Sunday were officially added to the White House coronavirus task force.

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Pence vows for law and order everywhere Trump met with chants of protest as he pays respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE's office also announced that Kelvin Droegmeier, who heads the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, will work with the task force.

Both Carson and Hahn worked in the medical field prior to joining the federal government. Carson worked as a brain surgeon, while Hahn's background is in oncology. Droegmeier's expertise is in meteorology.

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The announcement of additional members of the White House task force comes as the administration seeks to reassure the American public of its preparedness, even as new coronavirus cases are being reported across the country.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE last week tasked Pence with leading the government response to coronavirus, a move that drew Democratic criticism due to the vice president's lack of medical expertise.

Pence has since named Deborah Birx, a career health official and State Department appointee focused on HIV/AIDS, to coordinate the White House response. He has also added six new members to the task force, including the three announced Sunday.

The task force met on Saturday, and Carson could be seen in a photo of the gathering.

Officials on Saturday confirmed the first death in the U.S. as a result of the coronavirus, a man in Washington state. There are more than 70 cases of the virus in the U.S. Four of those are cases of community transmission, meaning the individuals did not recently travel to infected areas or come into contact with those who did.

Trump has further restricted travel from Iran and advised U.S. citizens not to travel to specific regions in Italy and South Korea due to concerns about the virus.