• Reporters shouted Vice President Mike Pence out of the press briefing room after he didn’t take questions following the first COVID-19 task force briefing in months. 
  • Members of the task force addressed the surging number of COVID-19 cases across the country. 
  • President Donald Trump was not present at the meeting and has been relatively silent on the pandemic since the election, instead choosing to pursue baseless claims of election fraud via dozens of unsuccessful court challenges.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Reporters shouted at Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday after he chose not to answer questions at the first White House COVID-19 task force briefing in months.

“You’re all undermining the democratic election!” one reporter shouted.  

—The Recount (@therecount) November 19, 2020

Pence was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, the Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar, and Gen. Gustave Perna, who oversees vaccine distribution. 

Birx warned Americans to be cautious and take appropriate measures as cases continue to rise in the US. 

“This is really a call to action for every American to increase their vigilance,” Birx said

On Wednesday, 170,161 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country also surpassed 250,000 deaths from the virus on Wednesday. 

Pence offered an optimistic tone and said President Donald Trump advised the task force to speak with reporters. Trump was not present at the conference and has made few public appearances since President-elect Joe Biden won the November election. 

Trump has said little publicly about the pandemic since the November 3 election, instead choosing to pursue baseless claims of election fraud via dozens of unsuccessful court challenges.

Last week, he addressed the news of Pfizer releasing trial results that showed its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to be 95% effective. Trump, however, baselessly accused the company of withholding the findings until after the election, which the company swiftly denied.

Pence sought to reassure Americans as the pandemic rages on: “Even as we see help on the way, the vaccines being developed at a historic pace, as I mentioned before, as we gather today, we are seeing cases and positivity rising across the country,” Pence said.

“But we approach this moment with the confidence of experience. We know the American people know what to do. We have forged a partnership that is truly seamless with state and local health authorities.”

Reporters during Thursday’s conference pressed Pence about why he was not taking questions. They shouted remarks on Trump’s recent actions and asked why the White House has stopped taking questions from reporters.

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