The United States will experience the “darkest winter in modern history” in the continued absence of a significantly more robust response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal scientist who was abruptly ousted as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority last month will tell Congress on Thursday.
“Our window of opportunity is closing,” Dr. Rick Bright plans to tell the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee, according to an advanced release of his opening remarks. “If we fail to develop a nationally coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. While it is terrifying to acknowledge the extent of the challenge that we currently confront, the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID-19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system.”
The statement also said it was “painfully clear” that the administration was woefully underprepared for the crisis, and Bright urged the US to work with international partners in the race for a vaccine. The dire warnings stand in stark contrast to Trump’s premature rush to declare victory, even as the death toll soars past 80,000, but mirrored the assessment Dr. Anthony Fauci gave before a much-anticipated Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Bright is expected to speak about his removal, which he alleges came as a retaliatory move after he had protested President Donald Trump’s aggressive push of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven and potentially dangerous anti-malarial drug, as a coronavirus treatment.