On Thursday, a former Health and Human Services official testified before Congress that the Trump administration’s timeline for a coronavirus vaccine is too optimistic, saying there’s “no plan” to mass produce and distribute one.
The official, Dr. Rick Bright, told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health that predicting a vaccine will be ready in 12 to 18 months assumes that “everything goes perfectly,” adding, “We’ve never seen everything go perfectly.” Bright also said he had warned the administration about shortages of personal protective equipment, criticizing President Donald Trump and senior officials for minimizing the outbreak at the start.
“I believe Americans need to be told the truth,” Bright said. “We did not forewarn people. We did not train people. We did not educate them on social distancing and wearing a mask as we should have in January and February. All those forewarnings, all those educational opportunities, for the American public could have had an impact in further slowing this outbreak and saving more lives.”
Bright also warned that the administration needs to develop a comprehensive, well-implemented national response plan heading into the fall, adding that the coronavirus outbreak could combine with the seasonal flu later this year to create “the darkest winter in modern history.”