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Trump taps Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday said he had appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the federal government’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 2,400 lives globally and spread to about three dozen countries in recent weeks, shaking global markets and alarming world leaders.

Trump’s decision to elevate Pence comes after days of debate over whether the administration should appoint a coronavirus “czar.” Health secretary Alex Azar had previously led the effort, and insisted in a congressional hearing earlier Wednesday that appointing another leader was unnecessary.

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