Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that federal officials working on the coronavirus should be able to confer with Joseph R. Biden’s transition team, saying it would be best to pass the baton without slowing down as the nation faces a mounting crisis.
“Of course it would be better if we could start working with them,” Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The administration hasn’t green-lighted the transition process, as President Trump continues to contest results showing he lost to Mr. Biden.
Mr. Trump is emphasizing a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine but has been largely silent about the fact that the virus is ripping through the U.S.
The country has recorded 150,000 cases for three consecutive days, and hospitalizations are at their highest levels since the pandemic began, prompting governors to issue the type of stay-at-home orders America wanted to avoid.
Dr. Fauci said there will be no national lockdown but there needs to be ubiquitous, no-excuses adherence to safety measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and hand-washing.
“Everybody’s got to do it. There’s no excuse not to do it right now,” Dr. Fauci said.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, referring to a vaccine. “That should, I believe, motivate people to double down and say we’re going to do this uniformly.”
He said people can see a sense of normal starting in the second quarter of 2021, so long as people adhere to fundamental safeguards and accept the vaccine once it is available.
“We have to get people to take the vaccine,” Dr. Fauci said. “We can’t just wish it happening.”
Dr. Fauci said people will still have to adhere to safeguards for a period after they receive the shots since the shots will not be 100% effective for everyone, as the nation tries to build up widespread immunity.