Dr Fauci on Biden’s scientific credentials – and the delay in the transfer of power

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It’s Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for three decades and the country’s leading infectious disease physician, who speaks about the importance of a smooth transition of power. Fauci, 79, who has worked with six administrations, compared political transitions to a relay race and said it’s best not to stop to hand over the baton.

“I would like to see the interactions of the people coming in, doing the things that are currently being done by the task force,” he said on Tuesday. “Obviously, there’s no question that it’s better to have a smooth transition.” He added: “The people at Biden are already talking to companies, which is a good thing. I have not been in contact with the Biden administration at this point.Last week, BioNTech SE BNTX,
+ 4,03%
et Pfizer PFE,
+ 0,77%
announced progress on a vaccine and on Wednesday morning said a final analysis showed 95% effectiveness rather than 90%. Monday, Moderna MRNA,
-4,57%
said his vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective. The companies’ results have yet to be published in pre-print or in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Fauci said news of two new vaccines with efficacy of 90% and above is cause for celebration. “At best what we’ll see will be some people – usually the highest priority, which is determined by an advisory committee and ultimately the CDC – there will likely be some who get vaccinated towards the end.” December, ”he told National. Public radio.

Related:“Cytokine Storm” – the “intriguing” similarity between COVID-19 and the 1918 flu

He expressed optimism that Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna would have vaccines available for 20 million people by the end of the year, but reiterated that there would be little chance of deployment overall. of the population – beyond frontline workers such as medical staff and teachers underlying health problems and the elderly at risk – until the second trimester.

While the United States makes up 4% of the world’s population, it has had 20% of all cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the United States had reported 11.5 million coronavirus cases and 250,180 COVID-19-related deaths, just ahead of India (8.9 million cases to date), according to Johns Hopkins University. To put this in context: The United States has a population of 328 million, while India has 1.35 billion.

In a separate interview with the STAT summit on Tuesday, Fauci praised President-elect Joe Biden, 77, and said he had a “considerable, in fact, if not deep” understanding of science. He worked with Biden during the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola virus in West Africa. Fauci said they haven’t seen each other since Biden left the White House four years ago.

People walk past a mural of Dr Anthony Fauci by artist SacSix in New York’s East Village, depicting the infectious disease expert as a member of the Star Ship company from the sci-fi series ” Star Trek ”.

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Trump’s refusal to concede the presidential election means he’s ties the hands of the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. They can’t legally speak to Biden’s advisers about vaccines, testing, or any other coronavirus policy for legal reasons, Politico reported this month.

And, although there is mutual respect between Biden and Fauci, Politico reported that “sources close to the scientist said he was irritated by questions about whether he was cooperating with the new administration or fearing that the President Donald Trump is not following up on his threat to fire Fauci in the coming weeks. For all of the above reasons, Biden and Fauci avoid each other.

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“I have not been in contact with the Biden administration. “
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– Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases

The doctor also said he could have been more aggressive pushing for the COVID-19 test earlier in the pandemic, which could have helped target hot spots and help stop community transmission, but said it was a challenge at the time. “It never became a reality because we never really had enough testing to do the tests you needed to do,” added Fauci.

AstraZeneca AZN,
-1,76%
in association with the University of Oxford; Johnson & Johnson JNJ,
-1,32%
; Merck & Co. MERK,
+ 0,63%
; GlaxoSmithKline GSK,
-1,56%
; and Sanofi SAN,
-1,80%
are among the other companies working on vaccines. Sanofi’s France chief Olivier Bogillot told CNews that his vaccine did not need to be kept in freezing temperatures.

Le Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
-1,15%,
l’indice S&P 500 SPX,
-1,15%
et le Nasdaq Composite Index COMP,
-0,82%
closed sharply on Wednesday on the rise in US cases of COVID-19. But vaccine optimism remains: the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, based on initial reports, does not need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures, making distribution efforts easier.

Trump, 74, said last week that ‘time will tell’ if he remains in power despite his Democratic rival Biden winning both the popular vote and the constituency vote in the election presidential. The president threatened to withhold a coronavirus vaccine, if it became available, in New York. Meanwhile, the United States has racked up more than a million new coronavirus infections in just six days.

However, more Republican governors are dropping their resistance to masks as infections soar and hospitals face a flood of cases. “If the Iowans don’t buy into this, we’ll lose. Businesses will close again, more schools will be forced to go online and our healthcare system will fail, ”Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said this week, following in the footsteps of West Virginia officials and of North Dakota.

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