Story at a glance
- The unwillingness of President Trump to cooperate in the transition has public health officials worried it will negatively affect the incoming Biden administration’s COVID-19 response.
- The presidents of the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association urged Trump to work closely with Biden’s transition team to combat the virus.
- On Monday, Biden warned that the Trump administration’s refusal to coordinate with his team could complicate the daunting task of distributing a vaccine.
President Trump is still refusing to concede that he lost the presidential election and to engage in a smooth transition of power more than a week after President-elect Joe Biden was projected to be the winner.
The move by Trump has so far blocked Biden’s transition team from accessing critical federal resources and personnel, including officials involved in the crucial COVID-19 pandemic response.
The unwillingness to cooperate in the transition has public health officials worried it will negatively affect the incoming Biden administration’s COVID-19 response as the U.S. is currently experiencing the worst outbreak since the pandemic began.
On Tuesday, the presidents of the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association urged Trump to work closely with Biden’s transition team to fight the pandemic.
"As organizations representing the nation’s hospitals and health systems, physicians and registered nurses who remain on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 and currently caring for tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients, we have been working with your Administration to defeat the pandemic,” the statement said.
“As providers of care for all Americans, we see the suffering that is occurring in our communities due to COVID-19. We see families who have lost both parents from COVID- 19; we see children suffering from long-term effects due to a COVID-19 infection; and we see minority populations disproportionately suffering from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is from this front line human perspective that we urge you to share critical data and information as soon as possible," the statement said.
On Monday, Biden warned that the Trump administration’s refusal to coordinate with his team could complicate the daunting task of distributing a vaccine that is expected to ramp up in the coming months.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said during a news briefing in Wilmington, Del., Monday.
“If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month, month and a half. And so, it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now. Now or as rapidly as we can get that done,” he said.
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Biden’s remarks came on the same day Moderna announced an interim analysis showed its vaccine to be more than 94 percent effective.
Last week, Pfizer said its vaccine candidate showed 90 percent efficacy in its late-stage clinical trial. Both drugmakers plan to apply for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks and have tens of millions of doses for high-risk groups before the end of the year. Widespread distribution of a vaccine is expected to be in full swing in spring 2021.
“Transitions are important, and if you don’t have a smooth transition, you would not optimize whatever efforts you’re doing right now,” Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said during an interview on CNN’s “Newsroom” Tuesday.
He compared the COVID-19 response to a “relay race in which you’re passing the baton and you don’t want to slow down what you’re doing, but you want the person to whom you’re giving the baton to be running with it as opposed to stopping and starting all over again.”
Trump has refused to concede, citing unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.
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