Top aide to US President-elect Joe Biden Ron Klain called on Congress on Sunday to pass bipartisan financial relief for COVID-19 as US records and hospitals across the country were brought to their knees, and called for immediate action so his team can coordinate with the outgoing Trump administration.
Other top Biden advisors also stressed the need to control the spiral eruption now, even before Biden takes office on January 20. They said the next few weeks were critical and warned that local health systems were at a tipping point.
“We are at a very dangerous time,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, member of Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told NBC News “Meet the Press.” Program.
If no action is taken now, “these numbers will increase significantly,” warned Osterholm. “Our future is in our hands … at least for the next three weeks.”
In the past few days, new cases nationwide have hit daily records, more than doubling the number of one-day infections reported during the previous U.S. peak in mid-July. The total number of U.S. COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began is approaching 11 million, with 245,581 deaths being the most common worldwide. The number of COVID-19 patients in US hospitals has also risen to an all-time high in the past few days.
Klain, Biden’s new White House chief of staff, said Democrats and Republicans need urgent funding for additional relief amid the surge that has forced new restrictions on many states to curb the spread of the virus.
“This could be a first example of post-election bipartisan action,” Klain told NBC in a separate interview.
He said Biden spoke to Democratic leaders of Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, about more coronavirus aid, but not to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who has so far refused to publicly recognize Biden as president-elect.
Klain added that Biden’s team planned to meet with Pfizer Inc, which released positive initial data on its experimental COVID-19 vaccine last week, and other drug makers this week, but is still awaiting federal government approval to be official begin the transition efforts between its pandemic advisors and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The incoming team has been hampered by the federal government’s refusal to sign transition efforts affecting coronavirus coordination, national security and other urgent issues, he said.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)