Joe Biden’s vast media cheering squad claims the ex-veep has an all-star team of experts ready to take over and vanquish the novel coronavirus. In truth, those experts would undermine the one thing this nation needs to resume normal life: a vaccine soon. They’d also revive the Obama-era idea of making people 65 and over a lesser priority for health care. If you’re in that age category, and stuck at home because of the virus, beware of what Biden advisers have in mind.
Biden adviser Ezekiel Emanuel wants to reverse the Trump administration’s intent to offer the vaccine to those over 65 ahead of the general population. People over 65 are at highest risk from COVID-19. But in a new piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Emanuel argues the elderly shouldn’t be given priority — because they don’t have as long to live anyway.
From the start of the coronavirus crisis, Biden’s advisers have shown poor judgment. They naïvely encouraged the United States to rely on the World Health Organization for guidance, though WHO was already covering up for China. And they attacked the idea of Trump’s China-travel ban even before he announced it.
Two key advisers — his former chief of staff Ron Klain and former Health and Human Services official Nicole Lurie — urged Americans to avoid fear and “xenophobia” and railed against a travel ban as unfair to immigrants.
On Jan. 31, epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pushed for a travel ban against China. Trump acceded over the objections of several Cabinet members. On March 11, again on the health team’s advice, he expanded the restrictions to Europe.
Biden’s reaction? “It’s not who we are,” he tweeted, ignoring that travel restrictions are key to infection control. He accused Trump of “adding more countries to the list of who’s not welcome in America.”
That was one of the Biden team’s early mistakes. Then, in July, Biden released what he claimed was a complete plan to fight COVID-19, including surging hospital capacity, ramping up production of medical equipment, and launching as many vaccine candidates as possible. Sorry. Trump is already doing all that.
No wonder Biden is now attacking Trump for his recorded remarks to Bob Woodward. It’s easier to pick apart Trump’s words than to criticize his strong actions against the virus.
Trump marshaled the private economy and government to mass produce ventilators and masks, build field hospitals and produce therapeutics and eight vaccine candidates at “warp speed.” Actions that produced results. A patient’s ability to survive the virus has quadrupled since April, according to CDC data.
Team Biden’s latest mistake is undermining expedited approval of a vaccine.
Biden questions if the vaccine is even “real,” and his running mate, Kamala Harris, suggests she couldn’t trust the Trump administration. You’d expect that from pols. But Biden health adviser Dr. Irwin Redlener, a Columbia University professor, says rapid authorization is “reckless” unless “federal agencies and manufacturers have a magical time-shrinking machine.”
Emergency-use authorization is not some gimmick concocted by Trump. It was devised by Congress after the Obama administration bungled distributing a vaccine in time to stave off H1N1 flu in 2009.
That was under Lurie’s watch. Congress passed a bipartisan measure to speed up vaccine approval in the event of a pandemic. It still requires unbiased scientific evaluation, but the clinical trial results are assessed as they roll in, rather than at the end. That would allow health workers and the elderly to get vaccinated months sooner, possibly before 2021.
Redlener predicts an astounding 800,000 virus deaths by year’s end, double other forecasts, yet he’s willing to delay a vaccine. Fellow adviser Emanuel — notorious for his callous views on the right to life and end-of-life care — does the cruel calculation that an 80-year-old man can expect to live only eight years more, so why make vaccinating him a priority?
You don’t want people who think like that calling the shots when lives are at stake.
Betsy McCaughey is author of the new book “The Next Pandemic.”
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