Dr. Fauci Says It 'Would Be Better' to Start 'Transition Process' with Biden's Team: 'That's Obvious'
Comparing a presidential transition to "passing a baton in a race," Dr. Anthony Fauci said "it would be better" if public health experts could begin to work with the incoming Biden-Harris administration, especially in light of spiking cases of the novel coronavirus.
"I've been through multiple transitions now, having served six presidents for 36 years, and it's very clear that that transition process … is really important in a smooth handing-over of the information," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union Sunday.
"It's almost like passing a baton in a race. You don't want to stop, and then give it to somebody. You want to just essentially keep going," Fauci continued. "And that's what transition is. So, it certainly would make things [go] more smoothly if we could do that."
Fauci added that it's "obvious" that it would be better for the public health of the American people if his team could start working with the incoming administration, which will take office on Jan. 20.
While it's customary for outgoing administrations to consult with incoming administrations, President Donald Trump has impeded those efforts, refusing to concede the election, despite losing by a significant margin to President-elect Joe Biden.
Since the election, Trump has been largely focused on baseless claims about voter fraud, though he did give public comments on a coronavirus vaccine last Friday.
COVID-19 cases, meanwhile, are spiking nationwide, with hospitalizations reaching an all-time high and deaths averaging 1,000 per day over the last week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Fauci spoke about "COVID fatigue" on State of the Union, urging people to follow public health guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus.
In a victory speech given after the race was called, Biden said COVID-19 would be a top priority for his administration.
Though he hasn't connected with the outgoing administration, the president-elect has already tapped a host of experts to work on the pandemic.
Last week, Biden announced his chief of staff, Ron Klain, who previously served as the Ebola response coordinator under former President Barack Obama in 2014.
Fauci, who worked closely with Klain, said the selection was "an excellent choice."
"He was absolutely terrific at the Ebola situation, where we had a very successful ultimate endgame," Fauci said.
Biden also recently announced his own coronavirus task force, which includes former government health officials, academics, and major figures in medicine.
One of Biden's appointed task force members, Dr. Atul Gawande, told NPR last week that the group is currently getting zero cooperation from the Trump administration.
"We do not have access to talking to the agencies, to Dr. Fauci, to people who have information about what the status is of mask supplies and glove supplies, what the threat assessments are, what the distribution plans for vaccines are," Gawande said. "That will be important and very much in the national interest to be able to work together on that."
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