US President Donald Trump is to wind down the country's coronavirus task force and replace it with a new group geared towards reopening the country, US media reported.
Despite evidence appearing to show that the pandemic is still going strong, Mr Trump and other officials said on Tuesday that they had made so much progress in bringing it under control that they planned to now focus on restarting the economy.
The task force is to be replaced with an unspecified new advisory body as part of "phase 2" of the country's response, Mr Trump said.
"I’m viewing our great citizens of this country to a certain extent and to a large extent as warriors. They’re warriors," the president told reporters.
"We can’t keep our country closed. We have to open our country. I’m not saying anything is perfect. And yes, will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
The US has the highest number of cases and loss of life from the novel coronavirus in the world, at over 1.2 million and more than 71,000 deaths.
Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, said the group would likely stop its work around the end of the May.