We have no master plan’: Top doctor takes to Twitter to trash Trump team’s COVID incompetence

Rick Bright testifies before Congress

Screenshot / C-SPAN

Trump’s whole COVID plan rests on a vaccine. But even if one is discovered tomorrow, it could take years to get it to the people, because the president is not working on distribution.

Dr. Rick Bright testified in May before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee about Trump’s failure to respond to the coronavirus. Now that the administration has admitted their only plan is a vaccine, Bright’s testimony holds an even more dire warning: the administration is not preparing to supply a coronavirus vaccine even if American scientists develop it.

Developing a vaccine is not just someone yelling, “Eureka!” in a lab coat and then everyone heads out to a rave. Dr. Bright warned it can take as long as two years to amass ingredients, and to manufacture the millions of vials and syringes it will take to deliver a vaccine. And he pointed out that a vaccine accessible to only a limited number of people would be “catastrophic.”

Whenever a vaccine becomes available, there is no one company that can produce enough for our country or for the world. We’ll have limited supplies. We need to have a strategy and plan in place now to make sure we cannot only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, but administer it in a fair and equitable plan. We don’t have that yet and it’s a significant concern.

Dr. Bright filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that the White House ignored his early warnings about the coronavirus. He was also removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a federal agency that oversees the development of a coronavirus vaccine. This seems to have been because he refused to push Chloroquine when President Trump was promoting the treatment.

The soft-spoken Bright delivered measured and precise answers at every turn. Dr. Bright is so measured, in fact, that his tone never wavered as he delivered bombshell after bombshell about substandard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), nonexistent COVID tests, and how unprepared the United States is months into the pandemic.

Trump dismissed Dr. Bright as a “disgruntled employee,” but Dr. Bright has already been proven right. At the time he testified, doctors had found that Remdesivir could accelerate recovery from COVID-19. There was not a sufficient supply, so the dosage was limited to emergencies.

“There was no action taken on the urgency to come up with a plan for acquisition,” Bright said. No plan, “to fairly and equitably…distribute those limited doses of Remdesivir once we had scientific data to help those infected with the virus.”

Remdesivir’s manufacturers built up the supply with little federal assistance. For months, doctors had to wait until patients got sick enough to be sure they needed some of the limited supply — sick enough that it might be too late to help them.

But the president got Remdesivir as soon as he tested positive.

Dr. Bright may have delivered his news calmly, but it would be foolish not to add our own exclamation points and flashing lights to his statements about the vaccine.

“Normally it takes up to 10 years to make a vaccine,” Bright testified. “A lot of optimism is swirling around a 12- to 18-month timeframe if everything goes perfectly. We have never seen everything go perfectly….I think it will take longer than that to do so.”

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