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‘Bringing back the pros’ White House renews virus briefings

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It has been a Trump show for over a year. President Joe Biden is also calling for leading researchers and public health professionals from the country to periodically brief the American public about the pandemic that has destroyed more than 425,000 lives in the United States.

Starting Wednesday, administration specialists started hosting briefings on the status of the disease, measures to contain it, and the scramble to produce vaccines and therapeutics to end it, three days a week.

The original briefing offered a strong distinction from the iterations of the Trump presidency, where a president who expressed his unproven theories without remorse regularly insulted public health officials.

“We’re bringing back the pros to talk in an unvarnished manner about COVID,” Biden told reporters Tuesday. “If you have any questions, that’s how we’re going to handle them because we’re letting science talk again.”

The latest briefings, starting only a week into the tenure of Biden, are intended as a clear criticism of the response of Donald Trump to the coronavirus epidemic.

The briefing on Wednesday was held electronically, rather than in person at the White House, to allow for health journalists’ inquiries and to retain a fixed scheduling independent of the West Wing situation. It was not without technological glitches, though.

It included Jeff Zients, the pandemic response leader of the Biden administration; his assistant, Andy Slavitt; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist in the nation; Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the equity task force of Biden’s COVID-19, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The White House respects science and will obey it, and scientists will speak independently,” Slavitt said.

In the crucial early days of the epidemic, Trump took centre stage and muddled the message of the nation’s leading public health authorities and ultimately largely muzzled them as the deadly toll of the pandemic became steeper.

The new briefings are part of the effort by Biden to regain public trust in institutions, especially the federal government, committed to sharing the bad news with the nice.

He said Tuesday, echoing a key promise of his inaugural speech, “I will always level with you on the state of affairs.”

This is a message that has helped get Biden to the White House. As a candidate, he cautioned that in what would be a “dark winter,” the country faced a flood of coronavirus cases; Trump, for his part, wrongly believed the worst of the virus was over.

Walensky, the current CDC president, said the latest estimate by her department shows that by Feb. 20, the U.S. would cross between 479,000 and 514,000 fatalities. In the pandemic, more than 425,000 Americans have now died.

Dr. David Hamer, a professor of environmental health and medicine at the School of Public Health at Boston University, said it will go a long way towards enhancing public understanding of the vaccine by getting briefings from health authorities that are “based on serious science.”

“There is a certain amount of hesitancy in the vaccine, so it is really important to educate people about the vaccine, how it works, how it is safe and how it can protect against the disease but also slow transmission,” he said.

The stakes could hardly be higher for Biden, whose presidency relies on his treatment of the pandemic and the biggest vaccine programme in global history.

Biden is urging a tired society to reconnect to steps of social distancing and mask-wearing, referring to scientific models that indicate that practises in the coming months could save 50,000 lives. He also emphasised the right behaviours for the nation among representatives of his administration model.

In the former administration, such warnings had little champions, as Trump publicly flouted science-based advice from his own administration. At his reelection rallies, face coverings were scarce and social isolation was almost nonexistent.

The U.S. registered new infections and confirmed deaths almost daily in the weeks leading up to the inauguration of Biden, as many states reimposed expensive sanctions to slow the spread of the virus. Even then, Trump reduced his top scientists and public health leaders’ media interviews and proceeded to promote disinformation.

Asked by CNN last week if the Trump administration’s lack of candour about the virus had cost lives, Fauci said, “You know, it very likely did.”

Early in the pandemic, the Trump administration stopped the tradition of monthly science briefings, after Trump voiced outrage about dire alerts about the virus by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, immunisation and respiratory director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who leads the COVID-19 activities of the department.

Trump later told journalist Bob Woodward that to avoid causing fear about the outbreak, he had been “playing it down.” Aides said that he was still seeking to preserve the economy to improve his chances for reelection.

“Last spring, when the pandemic took place in the U.S., Trump assumed the position of “wartime president,” attending lengthy briefings at the White House, where he was the star, not science. For his early shows, Trump looked to the high tv ratings and timed the sessions to dominate the national evening news.

Trump expressed his concern about face coverings from the briefing room, considering the scientists’ common observations that wearing a mask helps deter the transmission of the infection. He wondered aloud if, like washing a wall, Americans would swallow toxic bleach to destroy the virus. He persuaded governors, even as cases surged, to “reopen” their governments.

As government scientists, headed by Fauci, have been making frequent media appearances to share their insights, the latest White House briefings arrive. Fauci called his present circumstances “liberating” last week, offering that “one of the new things in this administration is, don’t guess if you don’t know the answer.”

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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