Home / News / World /  Fauci to have first 'substantive talks' with Biden transition team

White House Covid-19 task force member and the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, will meet with President-elect Joe Biden's team for his first "substantive discussions" with the new administration about how to combat the deadly virus that has infected 14,363,909 and killed 280,581 Americans.

The top US government infectious diseases expert told CBS News that he expected to have a comprehensive discussion with members of Biden's team who are working to establish priorities in addressing the novel coronavirus pandemic and ensure a smooth transition on Inauguration Day on 20 January.

Although Dr Fauci has spoken with Joe Biden's White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain several times, the discussions were not substantive, he added.

"I'm going to be meeting with them today, by Zoom, virtually. So today will be the first day where there will be substantive discussions about the transition between me and the Biden team," Dr Fauci said, adding, "I'm very pleased that today we're having the first discussion about a number of things, vaccinations and things like that."

Fauci told CBS he wished the transition process had begun sooner. Outgoing President Donald Trump, a Republican, is contesting the results of the 3 November election and his administration only gave the go-ahead for the transition to begin on 23 November.

Fauci also said that the presidential transition was incredibly important to ensure that the incoming administration can take the reins on day one.

As director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has been the most high-profile member of the White House task force since the pandemic began, often disagreeing with Trump on how to combat Covid-19.

US records 3,157 Covid deaths, over 1 lakh hospitalisations in a day

The US reported a record 3,157 COVID-19 deaths and 100,226 hospitalisations on Wednesday, as a top health official warned of a bleak winter ahead as the country continues to see nationwide surges of new infections and hospitalisations.

Wednesday's death toll is an increase of about 20 per cent from the previous grim record of 2,603 set on April 15. Over the course of the pandemic, 273,799 people in the US have died of the virus and more than 13.9 million have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The spike in coronavirus deaths came on the same day the number of people hospitalised broke the 100,000-mark, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

With Pfizer's vaccine already approved by regulatory authorities in Britain, hopes of a respite in the United States are resting on the start of widespread vaccinations as early as this month.

Biden is considering tapping businessman Jeff Zients as his coronavirus "czar," according to an ally briefed on the Democrat's thinking. Vivek Murthy, the former US surgeon general who has been one of Biden's top coronavirus advisers, is also thought to be in the running.

With agency inputs

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