WASHINGTON, DC -- Despite the number of novel coronavirus cases surpassing one million in the U.S., President Donald Trump continues to push to reopen the country, with numbers out Wednesday that the country's economy shrank nearly 5% in the first three months of this year, the biggest quarterly decline since the Great Recession.
In lieu of a task force briefing, the president's communications team is reportedly shifting its focus from grim health statistics to a promising economic revival.
Trump hosted an "Opening Up America Again" roundtable discussion with industry executives at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, he met with a governor in the Oval Office for a second day in a row.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards of the hard-hit state of Louisiana visited the White House, as GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did one day before him, and said that testing in his state is going well, while more governors look to lift restrictions before the weekend.
With the White House social distancing guidelines set to expire Thursday, Trump told reporters in his meeting with the Louisiana governor that they'll likely be "fading out" as Vice President Mike Pence said they're largely already incorporated into the new reopening guidelines for states.
The president continued to tout the country's testing capacity as "superior" on Wednesday but walked back his assertion that the U.S. will hit 5 million tests a day "very soon" -- claiming he never said that, when he had said it at an East Room event on Tuesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci also attended the Oval Office meeting after breaking from the president a day prior and saying everyone who needs a test will be able to get one "end of May, beginning of June" -- seven weeks after Trump originally made the claim that "anyone who needs a test can get one."
But Fauci also shared what he called "good news" at Wednesday's meeting. In clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments, Fauci said mortality rates have tended "better" with the drug remdesivir, adding that's it's "opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating."
President Trump also invoked the Defense Production Act late Tuesday -- which several politicians have asked him to use to ramp up testing -- to classify meat plants as "critical infrastructure" that can remain open amid the highly contagious pandemic.