Transition Delays Impact Public Health

Residual tensions over the 2020 Presidential Election are complicating efforts to address the pandemic.

President Trump has yet to concede the election, meaning that presumed President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team cannot access certain resources within the federal government such as vaccine distribution plans.

Despite Biden already announcing a coronavirus task force, the restriction of resources to Biden’s transition team has raised concerns among public health officials.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said President Trump’s refusal to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team hurts public health as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

Officials from both sides of the aisle have also expressed the desire for a smooth transition:

  • Biden’s recently-announced Chief of Staff Ronald Klain said, “Joe Biden’s going to become president of the United States in the midst of an ongoing crisis. That has to be a seamless transition.”
  • Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) said that while “the president has every right to go into court” to contend election results, “we also need to begin that process” of handing over power.

Biden’s team has said it will continue with the transition with or without the help of President Trump. But continued obstacles from the Trump administration, such as refusing to provide access to messages from foreign leaders, may impact Biden’s ability to hit the ground running in coordinating a response to the global pandemic once he is inaugurated.