Covid-19 vaccine update: Biden advisers to meet vaccine firms as Trump stalls handoff

By: |
November 15, 2020 10:18 PM

That delayed handoff to the next administration is especially problematic during a public health crisis, the government's top infectious disease expert said.

The president-elect's outreach to the vaccine manufacturers comes as the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has entered perhaps its most dangerous phase.

Joe Biden’s scientific advisers will meet with vaccine makers in coming days as the presidential transition remains stalled because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the election.

That delayed handoff to the next administration is especially problematic during a public health crisis, the government’s top infectious disease expert said.

“Of course it would be better if we could start working with them,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has been through many presidential transitions during 36 years of government service. He likened the process to runners passing on the baton in a relay race. “You don’t want to stop, he said.

The president-elect’s outreach to the vaccine manufacturers comes as the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has entered perhaps its most dangerous phase.

The seven-day rolling average for new daily cases stood at 145,400 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That means the U.S. is adding about 1 million new cases a week, and deaths averaged 820 a day, a 33% increase in just two weeks.

“We’re going to start those consultations this week,” said Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, citing Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies.

Pfizer’s announcement that preliminary data indicate its vaccine is 90 per cent effective lifted financial markets last week and gave many people worldwide hope that an end to the pandemic will be coming.

Around the country, hospitals report that doctors and nurses are being stretched to cope with rising numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring special care. In some communities, hospitals have started limiting elective procedures in order to conserve resources.

Fauci stressed it won’t be like flipping a switch to return to normal life when the first vaccine doses become available for high-risk groups, most likely next month. He said Americans will have to keep up preventive measures such as wearing masks, observing social distancing and frequently washing their hands well into next year.

“Everybody is sensitive to what we call ‘COVID fatigue,'” Fauci said. “But we’ve got to hang in there. We’ve got to hang together .. .because we can make it turn around.” Fauci has been target of frequent complaints from Trump, and the president’s supporters have called for him to be fired.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Second wave fear: Maharashtra CM appoints vaccine task force
2Delhi records 6,224 new COVID-19 cases, 109 more die
3Maharashtra: No new lockdown but fresh restrictions to curb COVID19 spread soon