Image: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, April 22, 2020. Source: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.
By Trevor Hunnicutt
WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden has asked top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci to continue in his job and serve as Biden’s chief medical adviser and on the COVID-19 team after Biden takes office on Jan. 20, Biden said on Thursday.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to Biden and his team preparing to deal with the virus on Thursday, Biden said in an interview with CNN.
“I asked him to stay on in the exact same role as he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well and be part of the COVID team,” said Biden.
Biden also said he would get the COVID-19 vaccine when Fauci says it is safe and would be happy to take it publicly.
“It’s important to communicate to the American people it’s safe, safe to do this,” he said.
Despite news that vaccines against the virus may begin to be distributed in the coming weeks, the U.S. is experiencing a new surge in hospitalizations and deaths. The daily death toll reached its second-highest of the pandemic on Wednesday with 2,811 lives lost, according to a Reuters tally.
Biden told CNN that once in office he would issue a standing order that Americans must wear masks in federal buildings and on interstate transportation such as airplanes and buses.
“I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask,” Biden said. “Not forever, 100 days.”
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Eric Beech; writing by Simon Lewis; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool