WASHINGTON. Witnessing the House of Representatives Thursday morning, federal scientist Rick Bright, claiming that the Trump administration has suspended him, warned that “our window of opportunity is closing” to stop the coronavirus, and without quick action, it will return with a vengeance.
In his constant damn testimony, the former director of the Office of Advanced Research and Development in Biomedicine testified that he first realized in January that the coronavirus was arriving, and that the National Strategic Reserve did not have protective equipment, such as respiratory masks and nasal swabs, that the nation should would fight it.
Bright said in January he received a warning from Mark Bowen, whose company produces N95 respirators, about how low the supply of these masks was in the country. Bowen had a simple message for Bright: “We are in a deep asshole.”
Bright tried to convince his superiors, including Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and a senior HHS deputy, Robert Kadlecto act urgently to prepare the federal government for the imminent onslaught.
According to him, the answer of both was “indifference.”
Speaking calmly to the House’s Energy and Trade Committee at a hearing entitled “Protecting Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response,” Bright strongly suggested that little has changed for the past five months. He is concerned that the country still lacks a “master coordinated plan” of the federal government to address supply shortages.
“We need this comprehensive national strategy,” he said, speaking from the hearing room, where many of those present wore face masks and where the tables had large bottles with hand sanitizer.
Lack of a national strategy, Bright told the committee, could lead to the “darkest winter in modern history” when thousands of people die from complications associated with COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus when it returns with cold weather
This warning was consistent with what Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last month about the dangerous possibility that coronavirus and flu could reach epidemic levels in the colder months. The White House implied that it did not agree with Redfield’s comments and tried to say that they were distorted by the media.
There was little ambiguity in Bright’s words. “The undeniable fact is that COVID-19 will be revived this fall,” he said in his opening statement, “that it will greatly aggravate seasonal flu problems and create an unprecedented burden on our healthcare system.”
Until last month, Bright led the BARDA, which conducts high-level research in the field of biological weapons and disease outbreaks. AT applicant complaint filed on May 5, he claimed to be lowered to the federal ministry of health and social services for sounding the alarm about hydroxychloroquine, an experimental treatment for coronavirus promoted by President Trump. Bright said his demotion was developed by Kadlec, a senior HHS deputy.
Although he was careful on Thursday’s testimony to avoid political attacks, Bright claimed Trump’s “obsession” with hydroxychloroquine was “extremely distracting.” Studies so far have shown little benefit and potential harm from the drug, although studies are ongoing. Trump no longer advertises treatment.
Scary Intro was made public on Wednesdayin anticipation of his address to the committee on energy and home trade. This has been widely covered in the media. Trump tried to direct the lighting in the opposite direction, describing Bright on twitter as “a disgruntled worker who is not loved and respected by the people I talked to”,“The president used a similar language to describe other informants.
When the hearing began, the HHS issued a press release in which Bright accused Brian of filing a whistleblower complaint, which “was filled with unilateral arguments and misinformation.”
The statement also attempted to interpret his removal from the post of director of BARDA as a kind of career advancement, and he was accused of simulating.
“Mr. Bright has not yet come to work,” the statement said, “but continues to collect his salary of $ 285,010 using his taxpayer-funded medical leave to work with guerrilla attorneys who politicize the response to Covid- nineteen “.
HHS communications are currently carried out by Michael Caputo, a Republican field operative in Buffalo, NY who participated in Trump’s presidential campaign four years ago but has no experience in the healthcare sector.
Rep. Anna Eshu, California, who convened the hearing, was criticized by some Republicans for prioritizing Bright’s testimony, which many expected was to harm the Trump administration for other coronavirus-related issues. Her area of Silicon Valley, according to politicoreceived grants and contracts from BARDA under Bright’s direction.
But with most Americans disapproving of how Trump and his administration dealt with the pandemicAs a result of which more than 80,000 people died in the United States, most Republicans tried to minimize Bright’s allegations without rejecting them. The tone was less severe than last year’s investigation of impeachment, the last serious crisis Washington faced before the coronavirus arrived in the United States in January.
“Dr. Bright has made serious allegations, and they deserve an investigation,” said high-ranking Republican committee member Rep. Michael S. Burgess. At the same time, physician Burgess said it was more important to hear coronavirus hearings on other issues, such as the fragmented impact of the pandemic on minorities.
Rep. Markwane Mullin, Oklahoma, sharply questioned Bright about his claim that he had resigned because of hypertension, implying that what Bright called the “stress” of demotion was not enough to stay away from its new position at HHS.
As the hearing continued until noon, the White House tried to play down Bright’s remarks, clearly worried that his allegations would include evening news, prime time political shows, and possibly upcoming news cycles.
Hazard, who was at the White House with Trump on Thursday when they were about to leave for Pennsylvania, dismissed Bright’s allegations. “Everything he complains about has been achieved,” he said, which is an obvious reference to efforts to address the lack of personal protective equipment, fans, and diagnostic test kits. Trump repeated the content of his attack on Twitter, describing Bright as “a truly miserable, displeased person.”
“I believe that we could do better,” said Bright, adding that there is still time to prepare for the fall, but this time is not being used with the urgency that the pandemic deserved. “We have limited time,” he said. “We have the greatest scientific minds in our country to do this. We must listen to them.
With additional Dylan Stableford reports.
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