President-elect Joe Biden has named his new Covid-19 advisory board – including Rick Bright, a whistleblower who alleged the Trump administration ignored his early warnings about the pandemic.
Bright is a virologist with 25 years of experience dealing with pandemics. He claimed earlier this year that he was dismissed as the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research Authority after voicing concern about President Trump’s touting of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.
Testifying before Congress in May, Bright said “lives were endangered and lives were lost” because the administration ignored his concerns over a lack of PPE – including respirators.
Bright added that the US would face its “darkest winter in modern history” if a coordinated national response to Covid-19 was not pursued.
‘Scientists and experts’
Elsewhere on Biden’s 13-strong advisory board is Vivek Murthy, Barack Obama’s surgeon general, and David Kessler, who was the Food and Drug administration commissioner under Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement.
“The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”
‘Wear a mask’
In a speech on Monday, Biden urged Americans to “wear a mask” to fight the spread of the virus – even as hopes grew of a vaccine soon being made available.
“We are Americans, and our country is under threat,” the president-elect said, in his first appearance since his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday night.
He added: “Please, I implore you, wear a mask. It could even save your own life.”