POST 72. November 18, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “The Health and Human Services Department will not work with President-elect Joe Biden’s (PANDEMIC) team until the General Services Administration makes a determination that he won the election,….”

…, Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday, even as public health experts stress that a smooth transition is a critical part of the government’s response to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.”

“We’ve made it very clear that when GSA makes a determination, we will ensure complete, cooperative professional transitions and planning,” Azar said at a briefing. “We follow the guidance. We’re about getting vaccines and therapeutics invented and get the clinical trial data and saving lives here. That’s where our focus is as we go forward with our efforts.”

Azar was referring to a process known as “ascertainment,” a routine recognition by the GSA in the face of a clear presidential victory that would allow the official transition to begin. But although major news networks called the election for Biden nearly two weeks ago, President Donald Trump’s campaign has launched long-shot legal challenges in several states, even though they have little chance of overturning the results.” (A)

“Doctors on the White House Coronavirus Task Force stressed to Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic situation is dire and only getting worse, two senior administration officials familiar with the meeting told CBS News. The doctors fear the U.S. could see an average of 1,500 deaths a day next week, and up to 2,000 a day by Christmas without any changes to mitigation measures.

The doctors on the task force are also concerned the predicted spikes will completely overrun hospitals and force the U.S. back to the hectic early phase of the pandemic. To prevent this from happening, the doctors are recommending that bars close and restaurants stop offering indoor dining. However, they believe schools can stay open because data shows the transmission rates are low.

The health officials on the task force are urging either Pence or President Trump to stress to the public from the briefing room podium the importance of taking mitigation measures to slow the spread of the virus. They feel such action would add weight to the message that everyone must take the ongoing pandemic seriously and make it clear the virus is out of control. As of publication, Pence is not scheduled to speak at a coronavirus briefing.” (B)

“As a deadly new wave of COVID-19 infections surges in 46 states, President Donald Trump hasn’t attended a coronavirus task force meeting in months. The President has been largely silent about the renewed strain on hospitals. He hasn’t added his voice to pressure more state governors to require masks and distancing — moves his own public health officials say can save thousands of lives as the country enters a potentially deadly winter before a vaccine will be widely distributed. Vice President Mike Pence led a White House call with state governors on Nov. 17 about the coronavirus response. Trump didn’t attend.

For someone who is still the country’s President for another two months, and falsely insists he won the election, Trump is showing little interest in continuing to fulfill the duties of his office. “He’s never liked the subject, and he’s sitting there knowing that he lost the election because of it,” says a former White House official in close touch with Trump’s inner circle. “To the extent that he thinks he lost, he lost because of COVID.”” (C)

“President Donald Trump’s refusal to coordinate with President-elect Joe Biden on the critical Covid-19 vaccine is bringing a staggering possibility into clearer view: that an outgoing US commander in chief is actively working to sabotage his successor.

Trump’s denial of his election defeat, his lies about nonexistent mass coordinated voter fraud and his strangling of the rituals of transferring power between administrations are not just democracy-damaging aberrations.

Given the current national emergency, they threaten to cause practical fallout that could damage Biden’s incoming White House not just in a political sense. There are increasing concerns that Trump’s obstruction will slow and complicate the delivery of the vaccine that brings the tantalizing prospect of a return to normal life amid stunning news from trials showing doses are effective in stopping more than 90% of coronavirus infections.

The distribution operation will be a massively complex and historic public vaccination effort targeting hundreds of millions of Americans — many millions of whom have resisted following basic safety protocols like wearing masks because Trump has encouraged them not to. The inoculation campaign will require a high level of public trust and will involve sharp ethical debates among officials about who should get the vaccine first. The entire program could be damaged if it is politicized. But unless something changes, the Biden team may face the task of tackling those issues afresh, in a frantic catch-up operation.” (D)

“Recent COVID-19 vaccine developments are undoubtedly good news for Americans and the world. But to President Trump, they’re “nothing but a heap of frustration,” The Daily Beast reports.

For the past few months, Trump had reportedly been dreaming up ways he could promote a COVID-19 vaccine once it was released. He “envisioned large, public, mask-free events,” and “rallies to celebrate the successes of Operation Warp Speed,” two individuals with direct knowledge of his private comments tell The Daily Beast…

But with President-elect Joe Biden’s win, Trump’s boastful hopes have gone down the drain. As vaccine developments quickly poured in after Trump’s loss, he has “grown preemptively annoyed that Biden will try to ‘steal’ credit from him for life-saving vaccine developments.” (E)

to read POSTS 1-71 in chronological order, highlight and click on

(A)HHS secretary says department won’t work with Biden’s team until federal agency determines he won, By Kristen Holmes and Devan Cole, https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/18/politics/health-and-human-services-staffers-transition-biden/index.html

(B) Coronavirus Task Force offers dire warnings, recommends bars close and restaurants halt indoor dining, by WEIJIA JIANG, PAULA REID, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-task-force-offers-dire-warnings-recommends-restaurants-close-indoor-dining-and-bars/

(C) COVID-19 Is Spiking—and Donald Trump Has Pulled a ‘Disappearance Act’, BY BRIAN BENNETT, https://time.com/5912675/donald-trump-president-covid-19/

(D) Trump’s transition sabotage threatens vaccine rollout, by Stephen Collinson, https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/17/politics/election-2020-transition-coronavirus-donald-trump-joe-biden/index.html

(E)Trump is reportedly upset Biden will steal his coronavirus vaccine thunder, by Kathryn Krawczyk, https://news.yahoo.com/trump-reportedly-upset-biden-steal-163344021.html

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