Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, is meeting virtually Thursday with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team about the surging coronavirus pandemic in the country and the likely start soon of widespread vaccinations of millions of Americans.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, was for months the face of the government’s response to the pandemic.
But his dire warnings about the health risks of the virus eventually peeved President Donald Trump, who sidelined him in favor of more optimistic medical views ahead of last month’s national election in which Biden defeated Trump.
Biden has promised to listen to the advice of medical experts like Fauci as tens of thousands of new infections in the United States are being recorded daily. More than 273,000 Americans have been killed by the virus, more than in any other country, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The 79-year-old Fauci, a career government civil servant, told CBS News that his discussions with Biden’s “landing team” at his agency will center on the new administration’s priorities to quickly start inoculations after two proposed vaccines are likely approved by government drug regulators in the next two weeks.
“Having served six (White House) administrations, I’ve been through five transitions, and I know that transitions are really important if you want to get a smooth handing over of the responsibility,” Fauci said.
Fauci said he has not yet spoken with Biden but expects to do so soon.