Washington, November 14
US President-elect Joe Biden has described the spike in new coronavirus cases in the country as “alarming”, demanding the current administration led by President Donald Trump to take urgent action.
Biden, on Friday, was briefed on the COVID-19 outbreak by the co-chairs of the transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, Dr Vivek Murthy, Dr David Kessler, and Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith.
“The facts they presented were alarming. Our country is experiencing surges in reported infections, hospitalisations, and fatalities all over the country with virtually nowhere getting spared,” Biden said.
This week’s news on progress towards a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is positive, but it will be many months before there is widespread vaccination in this country, he added. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Monday said their COVID-19 vaccine has an effectiveness ratio of 90 per cent.
Biden said the pandemic demanded a robust and immediate federal response, which he alleged had been woefully lacking.
“I am the President-elect but I will not be President until next year. The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration — starting with an acknowledgement of how serious the current situation is,” he said.
According to media projections, Democrat Biden has won the November 3 presidential election. However, Trump, the Republican incumbent, has alleged election fraud and mounted legal fights in a number of battleground states.
“Resources for frontline health care workers, including personal protective equipment, that are again in short supply. Surge capacity for hospitals that are at risk of running out of beds. Clear, science-based guidance for states, cities, tribal communities, businesses, and schools that are trying to manage the pandemic,” he said.
Biden appealed to Americans, to step up and do their part on social distancing, hand washing, and wearing mask to protect themselves and to protect others.
“I understand it’s not easy. I know people are tired. But this will not go on forever. We are moving toward a vaccine. We are improving our ability to test. We are developing better treatments. We can get through this and come out the other side stronger,” he said.
The Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Transition Team advisor Jen Psaki during a conference said that at this pivotal time, when thousands of Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19, the current president is absent from that conversation.
“The COVID Advisory Board and one of the roles they can play is providing medical public health expertise and counsel to the President-elect and Vice President-elect as well as his team on all of these areas, whether it’s the distribution or testing mechanisms, you know, these are talented experienced, some of the foremost experts in the country,” she said.
“Their role was never going to be to directly engage with federal officials, so they can continue providing advice just as we had planned. But certainly, we would prefer, and I think the American people would prefer if the incoming administration, the incoming president could have access to the real-time current information and plans,” Psaki said in response to a question.
The coronavirus has killed 244,302 people with over 10 million confirmed cases in the US so far. PTI