Birx hopes to brief Biden Monday on coronavirus

Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks as President Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 21, 2020.Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty ImagesWASHINGTON — White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said she hopes to brief President-elect Joe Biden’s administration on America’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday.”I think the one thing that we will be able to bring to the Biden administration in that discussion is to understand how they want to see the data,” Birx said during a Sunday interview on CBS “Face the Nation.”The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.Birx explained that in the past nine months the federal government has compiled detailed data used to track and measure the virus, a key component to shaping response efforts. Birx, referencing statewide data, also raised concerns about a potential uptick in coronavirus cases across the United States due to the Thanksgiving holiday.”Going into the Memorial Day weekend we had less than 25,000 a day, we had only 30,000 inpatients in the hospital and we had way less mortality, way under a thousand,” Birx said.”We’re entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four, and 10 times as much disease across the country so that’s what worries us the most,” Birx said, referencing her colleague White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.”We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period,” Birx said, adding that “if you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later.””And if you’re over 65 or you have comorbidities and you gathered at Thanksgiving, if you develop any symptoms, you need to be tested immediately,” Birx said.Travelers pass through O’Hare International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Chicago, Illinois, November 25, 2020.Kamil Krzaczynski | ReutersLast week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the official leading the transition planning effort briefed the Biden team on Operation Warp Speed, the program tasked with developing the coronavirus vaccine.”We are immediately getting them all of the pre-prepared transition briefing materials,” Azar said on Tuesday.”We will ensure coordinated briefings with them to ensure they’re getting whatever information that they feel they need,” Azar said, adding that the “transition planning and execution will be professional, cooperative and collaborative.”The move to brief the incoming Biden administration on the unfolding health crisis ends weeks of delays in the formal handover of power from President Donald Trump in the wake of the U.S. presidential election. Trump has not conceded the election to Biden.And with less than 12 weeks left in the Trump administration, the president has been criticized as not doing enough to control the spread of the deadly disease.Since its emergence, the coronavirus has claimed at least 1.44 million lives and infected more than 61.64 million around the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At more than 13 million coronavirus cases, the U.S. is facing the most severe outbreak in terms of total numbers. More than 264,000 people in the United States have died from the disease.Earlier this month, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccine. The FDA process is expected to take a few weeks, and an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine has been scheduled for early December.Pfizer announced on July 22 that the U.S. agreed to buy 100 million doses of its vaccine for up to $1.95 billion. The agreement, which is part of Operation Warp Speed, allows the U.S. to acquire an additional 500 million vaccine doses.

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