Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she hoped to speak with Joe Biden on Monday about the pandemic (AP)
One of the key arguments made in recent weeks for allowing the Biden administration to transition into the White House has been the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Officials said it would be imperative for President-elect Joe Biden to have information prior to his inauguration on 20 January so he could hit the ground running with addressing the novel virus and its current surge throughout the county.
Dr Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Sunday she hoped she could brief Mr Biden on the pandemic as early as Monday.
“I hope on Monday, because what’s really critical is we’ve spent the last nine months really developing sophisticated databases that are bringing together information from across the count- across the country, down to the county level. We can see who is being admitted,” Dr Birx said when speaking on CBS’ Face The Nation.
“We can see who’s getting sick. We can see where this virus is moving in communities. And I think the one thing that we will bring to the Biden administration in that discussion is to understand how they want to see the data because data isn’t helpful if it’s not actionable,” she added.
When asked about the last time she briefed President Donald Trump on the pandemic, Dr Birx avoided the question.
Instead, the expert said she briefs Vice President Mike Pence, another member of the White House coronavirus task force, daily.
“I write a daily report that goes up to [Mr Pence] every single day … it has a synopsis of what’s happening across the country, state by state, county by county, hospital by hospital, who’s being admitted, what the age group of the admissions are, and what our recommendations are at the highest levels of government,” she said.
Mr Trump has reportedly not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting for the past five months. He’s faced accusations of abandoning the pandemic since it was projected he lost the 2020 election. His time has been spent instead focusing on promoting unproven conspiracy theories about election fraud and refusing to acknowledge Mr Biden as the president-elect, which has impacted the transition process.
Dr Birx implored Americans to take personal responsibility for the coronavirus, no matter what local, state, and even federal leaders were doing to address the pandemic.
“To every American: this is the moment to protect yourself and your family,” Dr Birx said.
“And so, if your governor or your mayor isn’t doing the policies that we know are critical — masking, physical distancing, avoiding bars, avoiding crowded indoor areas — if those restrictions don’t exist in your state, you need to take it upon yourself to be restrictive,” she continued.
The United States has hit several grim milestones in recent weeks, including recording more than 4 million new cases in the month of November and surpassing 250,000 deaths from the novel virus.
Health experts asked the American public to forgo their usual Thanksgiving plans and only celebrate with their immediate household, but Dr Birx acknowledged people still likely got together.
“If your family travelled, you have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected,” she said. “You really need to get tested in the next week, and you really need to avoid anyone in your family with co-morbidities, or [those who are] over 65.”
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