President-elect Joe Biden.(AP)
President-elect Joe Biden.(AP)

President-elect Joe Biden warns country of ‘dark winter’ ahead with Covid-19 surge

“There’s a need for bold action to fight this pandemic. We’re still facing a very dark winter,” he said in somber remarks after meeting with his newly appointed coronavirus task force.
By Bloomberg | Posted by Shivani Kumar
UPDATED ON NOV 09, 2020 11:08 PM IST

President-elect Joe Biden warned on Monday that the U.S. was facing a “dark winter” and many more deaths as the coronavirus continues to spread unabated.

“There’s a need for bold action to fight this pandemic. We’re still facing a very dark winter,” he said in somber remarks after meeting with his newly appointed coronavirus task force.

He called on all Americans to wear masks consistently as the best way to fight infection.

“It doesn’t matter your party. It doesn’t matter who you voted for,” he said. “We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask.”

His remarks came as Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, a physician, tested positive for Covid-19.

His transition team is seeking to fulfill a campaign promise to develop a dramatically different approach than President Donald Trump’s to contain the pandemic.The 13-member task force is composed largely of doctors and public health experts, who will work with Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the transition team to map out the public health and economic policies needed to curtail the virus.

The task force was announced only hours before positive preliminary test results were released of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE indicating it prevented more than 90% of infections. The study involved tens of thousands of volunteers.

Eight months into the worst pandemic in a century, the preliminary results pave the way for the companies to seek an emergency-use authorization from regulators if further research shows the shot is also safe.

Biden, in a statement issued Monday, congratulated “the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough,” but warned that “the end of the battle against Covid-19 is still months away.”

Even if “some Americans are vaccinated later this year, it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country,” Biden said. “Today’s news does not change this urgent reality. Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year.”

From the onset of the pandemic, Biden said it was critical to listen to scientists and medical experts in charting a path out of the pandemic. He staked much of his presidential campaign on striking a contrast with Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the dangers of the virus even after being hospitalized when he contracted it.

The team will be led by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University. It will include about a dozen people, many of whom were already advising Biden and his staff throughout the campaign. Kessler and Murthy, in particular, were deeply involved in shaping the Biden campaign’s plans for responding to the virus, and they both regularly briefed the president-elect.

The transition and the task force face the difficult task of figuring out how to implement the policies Biden has proposed, including identifying supply chain issues for vaccine distribution and increased testing.

The announcement of the task force is the first step Biden and his team are taking to demonstrate the high value they will place in having experts and doctors guide their response.

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”

The task force will also include Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Michael Osterlohm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Celine Gounder, a professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at New York University and Ezekiel Emanuel, a former Obama administration health adviser.

Other members are Luciana Borio, vice president at In-Q-Tel, Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Julie Morita, the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Loyce Pace, president of Global Health Council, Robert Rodriguez, a professor of emergency medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine, and Eric Goosby, an expert on infectious diseases and professor of medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.

The coronavirus has infected nearly 10 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 237,000 as daily case counts continue to rise and set records. Biden campaigned on shepherding an aggressive federal effort to contain the virus and renewed that promise on Saturday night.

While the task force and the transition team will be laying the groundwork for a muscular federal approach, the president-elect cannot officially implement policy changes until he’s in office.

During the campaign, Biden released a plan to combat the coronavirus that said his response would aim to restore trust in the government, create a cohesive national strategy, make treatments affordable, provide economic relief to those impacted by the virus and work with other countries to stop the virus’ spread.

His plans also call for a national masking mandate, though Biden has acknowledged that would be difficult to enforce outside federal property, as well as expanded access to testing and the development of a vaccine that would be provided for free.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
The court, thereafter, gave him time till April 12 to place on record the links/urls which are yet to be removed.(AP file photo)
The court, thereafter, gave him time till April 12 to place on record the links/urls which are yet to be removed.(AP file photo)

Blocked links showing deceased woman as Hathras rape victim: Google, Twitter, FB

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 06:22 PM IST
The counsel for the husband told the court that all the links to the objectionable content have not been removed by Facebook.
Close
The Glen Grant whisky being auctioned is the oldest from the distillery. It comes in a Dartington crystal decanter with an American black walnut presentation box. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)(AP)
The Glen Grant whisky being auctioned is the oldest from the distillery. It comes in a Dartington crystal decanter with an American black walnut presentation box. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)(AP)

Rare 72-year-old Scotch whisky to be auctioned in Hong Kong

AP, Hong Kong
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 05:45 PM IST
  • It is the first time that the 1948 Glen Grant whisky, by independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail, is being offered in an auction. It is number 88 of 290 decanters bottled by the company, and will be auctioned off by Bonhams with a book estimate of 300,000 to 380,000 Hong Kong dollars.
Close
The talks come amid a global scramble for vaccines that’s raised tensions as countries seek to nab supplies in the hope of securing a way out of the one-year-old pandemic.(Reuters)
The talks come amid a global scramble for vaccines that’s raised tensions as countries seek to nab supplies in the hope of securing a way out of the one-year-old pandemic.(Reuters)

Novartis seeks partners to make more Covid-19 vaccines, therapies

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 05:33 PM IST
The company is “in conversations with a range of different players,” Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan said, with an agreement possible in the coming days or weeks.
Close
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaks during a news conference with other House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaks during a news conference with other House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo(REUTERS)

Liz Cheney faces blowback for vote to impeach Trump

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 05:17 PM IST
On Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, an ardent Trump ally from Florida, will stage a rally in Cheyenne at the Capitol, taking the fight to oust Cheney from her leadership post to her home turf and calling on “patriots” to turn out.
Close
In this image from video, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a White House briefing on the Biden administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (White House via AP)(AP)
In this image from video, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a White House briefing on the Biden administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (White House via AP)(AP)

Joe Biden’s new CDC director takes over institution in crisis

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 05:06 PM IST
  • Rochelle Walensky inherits an agency whose reputation has been tarnished. Early in the pandemic, the Trump administration halted the CDC’s briefings and the agency faded from view. administration officials slowed down publication of guidance and stalled access to $1 billion in pandemic aid.
Close
Members of a WHO team arrives in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on January 14, 2021.(AP)
Members of a WHO team arrives in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on January 14, 2021.(AP)

Explained: How experts will hunt for Covid-19 origins in China

AP, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 05:00 PM IST
Researchers around the world are eager for access to samples taken from the Huanan Seafood Market, which had an early outbreak, and Wuhan hospital records.
Close
People queue for a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 in Alcobendas, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. Health authorities in Spain are complaining that they are running short of COVID-19 vaccines due to delays in deliveries by pharmaceutical companies. Spain along with the rest of the European Union has suffered delays since Pfizer announced two weeks ago that it would reduce deliveries temporarily during a plant upgrade. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)(AP)
People queue for a rapid antigen test for COVID-19 in Alcobendas, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. Health authorities in Spain are complaining that they are running short of COVID-19 vaccines due to delays in deliveries by pharmaceutical companies. Spain along with the rest of the European Union has suffered delays since Pfizer announced two weeks ago that it would reduce deliveries temporarily during a plant upgrade. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)(AP)

WHO warns "too early to ease up" from Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe

Reuters, Geneva
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 04:11 PM IST
The World Health Organization's European director Hans Kluge said transmission rates across Europe are still very high.
Close
The H-1B visa allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.(Photo for Representation)
The H-1B visa allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.(Photo for Representation)

Trump admin’s final wage rules will not apply for upcoming H-1B filing season

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 04:08 PM IST
The final wages rule would have forced US companies seeking H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 visas for foreign workers to offer the same, or higher, wages as their local counterparts.
Close
A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo.(Reuters)
A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo.(Reuters)

Belgium inspects AstraZeneca vaccine factory amid EU dispute

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 04:08 PM IST
AstraZeneca said last week that it planned to cut initial deliveries in the EU to 31 million doses from the 80 million it had planned due to reduced yields from its manufacturing plants in Europe.
Close
South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks during an interview with Reuters in Seoul, South Korea, January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Heo Ran(REUTERS)
South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks during an interview with Reuters in Seoul, South Korea, January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Heo Ran(REUTERS)

North Korea, US should aim for initial nuclear freeze: South Korean PM

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 03:41 PM IST
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, in his first interview with a foreign media outlet since taking office a year ago, told Reuters "creative" thinking and mutual incentives were needed to get negotiations going again and prevent another breakdown.
Close
China US have put aside their quarrel on virus origins to sign a trade deal.(afp)
China US have put aside their quarrel on virus origins to sign a trade deal.(afp)

'New historical starting point' with US military; China

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 03:32 PM IST
Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Wu Qian said Thursday that under former President Donald Trump, military-to-military relations "faced many risks and challenges” but the sides now have an opportunity to reset ties.
Close
Beijing has so far frustrated international efforts to track the origins of the virus, which has killed more than 2.1 million people globally, and only recently allowed the WHO team into China after repeated delays.(AFP)
Beijing has so far frustrated international efforts to track the origins of the virus, which has killed more than 2.1 million people globally, and only recently allowed the WHO team into China after repeated delays.(AFP)

WHO China mission set to begin as US demands 'robust' virus origin probe

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:57 PM IST
"It's imperative that we get to the bottom of the early days of the pandemic in China, and we've been supportive of an international investigation that we feel should be robust and clear," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Close
A participant holds a placard reading "One for all, all for one" during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.(REUTERS)
A participant holds a placard reading "One for all, all for one" during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.(REUTERS)

Russia detains allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny

AP, Moscow
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:48 PM IST
  • Alexei Navalny's top ally Lyubov Sobol, Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva from the Alliance of Doctors union backed by Navalny, and Maria Alyokhina from the Pussy Riot punk collective have been detained for 48 hours along with Navalny's brother Oleg.
Close
Hours earlier, the top court -- stacked with justices appointed by the ruling Law & Justice party -- published a written justification of its October ruling, which tightened one of Europe’s strictest laws on ending pregnancies.(AP)
Hours earlier, the top court -- stacked with justices appointed by the ruling Law & Justice party -- published a written justification of its October ruling, which tightened one of Europe’s strictest laws on ending pregnancies.(AP)

Thousands protest in Poland as abortion ruling is enforced

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:46 PM IST
Protesters on Wednesday defied lockdown restrictions on public gatherings as well as freezing temperatures.
Close
Arriving passengers walk past a sign in the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London on January 26, 2021. (AP)
Arriving passengers walk past a sign in the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London on January 26, 2021. (AP)

Covid-19: UK will review quarantine country list today

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:37 PM IST
Britain announced on Wednesday new measures to reduce travel in and out of the country, hoping that by tightening its borders it can reduce the risk of new variants of the coronavirus spreading and putting its vaccination programme at risk.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP