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Fauci: Coronavirus Task Force Should Begin Meeting with Biden’s Transition Team

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Dr. Fauci testifies

Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that he is "concerned" that a hard transition from President Donald Trump's administration to one headed by Joe Biden could hurt the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned CNN's Jake Tapper that masks and social distancing should continue despite the development of any vaccine, noting that it likely will not be effective for 5 to 10 percent of the population.

A vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus is on its way.

The US may begin offering the vaccine to priority groups at the end of December, Fauci said.

"It's nearly like passing the baton in a race", he said.

On NBC's "Today" show on Monday, not long after Pfizer and Moderna announced promising results in trials for their coronavirus vaccines, Fauci said that the transition is "obviously" a concern.

"The virus is not going to stop and call a time out while things change".

In recent days, the US has recorded as many as 184,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, according to Johns Hopkins University, with surging counts in numerous states across the country.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the country remains in an "incredibly serious" situation where Canadians will need to refocus their efforts until vaccines become widely available. The candidates must go through independent data and safety monitoring, and then receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"That's great", Fauci said, "but we have to get people to take the vaccine".

Fauci and another coronavirus official, Admiral Brett Giroir of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, both said that it has been "several months" since Trump met with the White House coronavirus task force, which is headed by Vice President Mike Pence. More than 246,000 Americans have died thus far from the disease.

The U.S. leads the world with 11.2 million coronavirus cases and more than 247,000 deaths.

Pfizer's vaccine, developed in collaboration with Germany's BioNTech SE, has "an extraordinarily high degree of efficacy - more than 90%, close to 95%", Fauci said in an interview.

"I want to be as transparent as possible with everybody; this is not a political issue", he said.

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