How Biden aims to protect his administration’s Covid


So far, these types of protocols have worked – keeping Biden, 78, and almost everyone around him, from getting sick – but they haven’t been easy.

It has been difficult to build camaraderie and put together teams that fit in well when everyone is at a distance. Job seekers are unable to see the opportunities and show off their talents over a cup of coffee. President Donald Trump mocked Biden’s small crowds in post-election events and cited them as evidence to substantiate his false claims that he won a second term.

And while the team gained access to state-funded offices in the Commerce Department and the Pentagon when the General Service Administration certified Biden the election winner on November 23, the vast majority of Biden’s staff are working. always at home, and all that concerns politics. high-level interview committee meetings for administrative positions take place mainly on video.

These and other safety protocols are reassessed at least every two weeks and sometimes more frequently, transition sources told POLITICO, and updated based on the trajectory of the pandemic, new scientific findings on treatments. and countermeasures for the virus and changing directions from states, the CDC, and World Health Organization.

“It’s more of a gain than pain, but of course there is pain,” a person close to Biden told POLITICO. “The whole country is feeling it. We all have had enough. When people actually see human beings in person again, it will be a shocking revelation.

Every day, Biden holds public events, all reporters in his press pool have to rub their noses for rapid tests provided by CVS, and the president-elect himself undergoes regular PCR tests with publicly released results. Employees wear masks at all times – indoors and outdoors.

When two assistants to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris tested positive for the virus in October, she and her husband canceled all of her events for the rest of the week and only resumed their campaign when she suffered multiple consecutive negative tests. Anyone who had traveled with the two assistants were also tested multiple times, although they had not been in close contact.

When Biden has delivered speeches introducing his top White House aides, national security team, and economic advisers, the podium is cleared between the speakers. And when assistants meet in person at the transition office or with cabinet candidates, they use rapid tests, temperature checks, masks, and physical distances to prevent transmission of the virus – practices they plan to put into practice. implemented in the cramped and poorly ventilated White House. after the day of the inauguration.

Now that the transition is underway, some staff and new officials have had to physically travel to their new offices – although this remains a tiny fraction of the sprawling transition team and is limited to cases where they need to look at issues. classified or sensitive information, including national information. security documents.

“As you can see, we are not working in a transition office,” new White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on a recent Zoom call with reporters, pointing to her home office behind. she. “The President-elect and the Vice-President-elect have all told us that we should do our best to be model citizens. Being safe, wearing masks, the vast majority of us work remotely. “

While a small handful of people seeking Cabinet jobs have met Biden in person – including Antony Blinken, his choice to head the State Department – many high-level meetings have taken place over the course of ‘a combination of phone calls and video chats.

This hybrid approach was on full display on Tuesday, when Biden unveiled his healthcare team from the stage at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. His picks for general surgeon and Covid-19 coordinator joined Biden in person for the event, while HHS Secretary candidate Xavier Becerra and Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci shone in the event to deliver their remarks by video.

“Fortunately, the government has a lot of technologies that make it possible to come together, although it is not ideal, at least doable,” Lurie said. “But there are times when you can’t be far away – that’s what an essential worker is.”

It’s an environment that challenges lower-level job seekers looking to join the new administration. In past transitions, the physical office was a hub where potential hires could hang out, network, and discover potential openings. Now, the transition is asking for resumes by email, the recruiting process is like a “black box” and thousands of ambitious young Democrats are sitting in their homes, waiting for their phones to ring.

“It’s all virtual, so you can’t go shopping for cafes and political affairs with people,” a Democratic lawyer seeking a job told POLITICO. “For us coffee drinkers you can’t make six a day like you used to.”

“It’s hard to gather a lot of information about what’s going on unless you hear about it directly from someone who hears about it,” added a DC staff member interested in joining the administration. “It just seems like a mad rush of everyone posting resumes to people they know and hoping to hear from someone at some point and just keep faith in the process.

While the country is already experiencing record levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths as mid-December approaches, Biden’s team are well aware that things could be much worse when they take office – because colder weather pushes people to congregate indoors and vacations stimulate people to travel and mix households.

Just as they insist on the public, they will have to maintain onerous social distancing, wearing masks, frequent testing and working remotely for several months after the vaccine rolls out, the new administration is preparing to do so. even.

“We have to get tied,” Biden said Tuesday. “We are in a dark winter. Things can get worse before they get better. … We did not get into this mess quickly, and it will take time to fix it.


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