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President-elect Biden says more people may die from Covid if Trump continues to delay transition – CNBC

President-elect Biden says more people may die from Covid if Trump continues to delay transition – CNBC

President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday that “more people may die” from the coronavirus if the Trump administration doesn’t begin coordinating with his team on plans to vaccinate more than 300 million Americans against the virus.

“If we have to wait until January 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind, over a month and a half,” Biden said on Monday. “And so, it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now.”

Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar under President Barack Obama, told MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Biden’s coronavirus advisors would meet with the leading drug companies developing coronavirus vaccines this week.

However, Klain said the president-elect’s top health officials can’t coordinate with federal government employees until the General Services Administration approves the transition process. Trump has refused to concede the election, though he acknowledged in a Tweet posted Sunday that Biden had won before walking back that comment.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters on Monday. “How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC on Monday that between Moderna and Pfizer, there will be roughly 40 million doses of vaccine available by the end of this year, enough to inoculate about 20 million people since both vaccines require two shots.

The goal is to provide enough coronavirus vaccine doses to all Americans who want to be vaccinated against the disease by the second quarter of 2021, Azar said. There are roughly 331 million Americans.

“It’s going to take a while for the vaccine to be able to be available and distributed,” Biden said, encouraging Americans to continue wearing face coverings in the meantime.

The president-elect also told reporters that “he wouldn’t hesitate” to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“It’s important that people who are in the greatest need get it,” Biden said during a press briefing. “I wouldn’t hesitate to get the vaccine, but I also want to set an example.”

On Monday, Moderna reported preliminary phase three trial data that showed its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19. Those results follow similar findings from Pfizer, which announced last week that early data shows its vaccine is more than 90% effective.

“I think we’re on a clear path now. We’re on a clear path with the international community and international leaders, and the scientific community have focused on these two vaccines,” Biden said. “They appear to be ready for prime time, ready to be used. And if that continues along those roads, I would take the vaccine.”.

Biden also said that the only reason people are hesitant about the vaccine’s safety is because of Trump, who once suggested the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could approve a vaccine before Election Day. A spokesperson for the president was not immediately available for comment.

Infectious disease experts have warned, however, that the vaccines won’t help the U.S. much this winter since they’ll be available in very limited quantities. The nation is reporting a weekly average of roughly 148,725 new Covid-19 cases every day, soaring to record highs as scientists warn Americans that the next few months of the pandemic could be the worst.

Biden applauded Republican leaders, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, for instituting mask mandates in their states as coronavirus outbreaks surge. With Thanksgiving only ten days away, he also urged people to limit their holiday gatherings to a maximum of 10 people where everyone wears masks and maintains a safe distance between people.

“I just want to make sure that we’re able to be together next Thanksgiving, next Christmas,” Biden said. “It’s an international crisis, it’s an international health crisis.”

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