Biden says staff has spoken with Fauci: ‘He’s been very, very helpful’
President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that transition staffers have been in touch with Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
Biden told reporters that while he has not spoken with Fauci himself, “He’s been very, very helpful.”
Fauci confirmed to CNN that he’s spoke with the president-elect’s team and that he hopes to stay on in his role as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci has served in his position since 1984, a span that has included working for six administrations. He has emerged as one of the most prominent health officials in the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, with polls showing widespread support for him among the public.
News of the conversation comes as Biden vows to make tackling the coronavirus pandemic his top priority once entering the White House.
The president-elect has already indicated he would take a tougher stance on encouraging people to wear masks and socially distance, acts President Trump has downplayed, and will boost the government’s testing and contact tracing efforts.
The General Services Administration (GSA) officially “ascertained” Biden as the victor of the White House race Monday, a move that formally allows Biden to view classified information and his staffers to meet with government officials.
The conversation between Fauci and Biden’s staff comes amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the country, which has put immense stress on hospital systems and led to an array of states reimplementing coronavirus restrictions on business and gatherings that had been relaxed during the fall months.
There have been nearly 12.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, and new case counts routinely hit over 100,000 per day. More then 250,000 people have died.
Public health officials have warned that the pandemic’s spread could be exacerbated in the winter months when social gatherings move to indoor settings where the virus can more easily spread.