By Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey, Reuters
White House coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci will meet with members of President-elect Joe Biden’s team on Thursday for the first talks about how the new administration will combat the virus that has killed some 273,000 Americans.
Fauci, the top U.S. government infectious diseases expert, told CBS News he has spoken with incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain several times but those discussions were not substantive.
He said he expected to have a more comprehensive discussion with members of Biden’s team who will work on a smooth transition and the new administration’s priorities in addressing the pandemic.
“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,” Fauci said. “I’m very pleased that today we’re having the first discussion about a number of things, vaccinations and things like that.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, has become the most high-profile member of the White House task force since the pandemic began, often disagreeing with President Donald Trump on how to combat the virus. CNN also confirmed the meeting.
Trump’s administration delayed the transition to Biden’s team for weeks after the Nov. 3 presidential election even as the coronavirus surged in the United States. Fauci told CBS he wished the transition process had begun sooner.
Trump, a Republican, has contested the results of election and is administration only gave the go-ahead for the transition to begin on Nov. 23. Democrat Biden is to take office on Jan. 20.