Mike Pence admits 126,000 Americans have died and 2.5 million have contracted coronavirus

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Mike Pence admits 126,000 Americans have died and 2.5 million have contracted coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence celebrated 'remarkable progress' against the coronavirus, even as he acknowledged a surge in cases and the startling numb

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Vice President Mike Pence celebrated ‘remarkable progress’ against the coronavirus, even as he acknowledged a surge in cases and the startling number of deaths due to the pandemic at the coronavirus first task force briefing in months Friday.

‘We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives,’ Pence told reporters at a task force briefing Friday – this time held for the first time at the Department of Health and Human Services.

He offered ‘sympathies and our deepest condolences’ to families and victims – and kicked off the briefing by citing the grim statistics, with 125,000 dead and more than 2.5 million Americans infected.

As he did at White House briefings in the past, Pence praised President Trump’s actions, including blocking many travelers from China, even as public opinion polls show significant public dissatisfaction with the administration’s handling of the pandemic. 

'We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives,' said Vice President Mike Pence at the first coronavirus task force briefing in two months

‘We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives,’ said Vice President Mike Pence at the first coronavirus task force briefing in two months

He said it was time to ‘take a step back and think about how far we’ve come as a country’ and said he wanted to talk about ‘what we’re seeing and what we’re doing and how it’s different from two months ago.’

‘We have made truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward,’ Pence declared. 

He extended sympathies to the families that have lost love ones, bringing up the statistics more than once, rather than skirting over the results. 

He noted there was a day this week when the nation lost 2,500 Americans in a single day. 

‘I’ll be traveling to Florida on Thursday of next week to get a ground report,’ he said, although the Trump campaign also has announced a campaign event that day. 

The coronavirus task force held its first public briefing in two months Friday

The coronavirus task force held its first public briefing in two months Friday

Pence pointed to an increase in infections across the Sun Belt

Pence pointed to an increase in infections across the Sun Belt

‘The truth is we did slow the spread. We flattened the curve,’ he said. 

‘We’re in a much better place with the efforts President Trump mobilized at the federal level,’ said Pence.

Pence urged the nation to pray for those who have lost loved ones.  

With President Trump continuing to attack critics and blast the ‘fake news’ for discounting his efforts, Pence adopted soothing tones, telling the nation: ‘We’re all in this together.’

‘Just continue to pray that by God’s grace every single day will each of us do our part to heal our land,’ Pence urged. 

He said 34 states are experiencing ‘a measure of stability.’ But he acknowledged 16 states had ‘rising cases and rising percentages.’ Those states include Florida, which saw a jump of nearly 9,000 cases in a day. That is where Pence is heading Thursday for his ‘Faith in America’ indoor event. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, appearing after delivering warnings in House testimony, urged young people to join in social distancing to protect other citizens.

‘When you have an outbreak of an infectious disease, it’s a dynamic process that is global,’ Fauci said.

‘If you get infected you are part innocently or inadvertently of propagating the dynamic processes of a pandemic,’ he said. 

‘When you get infected, you will infect someone else who clearly will infect someone else.’ He urged young people to consider: ‘You have a societal responsibility. Because if you want to end this outbreak, really end it … we’ve got to realize that we are part of the process.’

He said what was most challenging about COVID-19 was the high percentage of people who don’t show symptoms but still spread the virus.

Fauci said he did not want to lay blame, although he allowed that some people would point to ‘maybe opening a little bit too early’ or ‘not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion’ during reopening.

But he said in some cases ‘the citizenry did not feel like they wanted to do that.’

‘Everyone feels the common feeling for being pent up for such a long period of time,’ Fauci said. 

Asked by DailyMail.com whether he expected the death rate to rise, Pence responded: ‘Our hope and our prayer is it’s not the case.’

‘One is too many. We grieve the loss of every American life,’ Pence added. 

Pence twice rejected the premise of questions that the Trump campaign was setting a poor example, by staging a rally in Tulsa where staff and Secret Service had to quarantine, and holding an indoor rally in Phoenix where young people mostly ignored guidance on wearing masks.

He got asked if the campaign was telling people ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

‘I want to remind you again that the freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States,’ Pence said. ‘And even in a health crisis the American people don’t forfeit our constitutional rights.’

‘I think it’s really important that we recognize how important freedom and personal responsibility are to this entire equation.’ 

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