Whistleblower warns "window of opportunity is closing" to slow COVID-19

iStock/Sohel_Parvez_Haque (WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide and infected over 4.3 million, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. 

In the U.S., 1.3 million people have been sickened by the virus and over 83,000 people have died.  

Rick Bright, who was excused from his position as the head of the federal agency developing a vaccine for the virus, cautioned of the “darkest winter in modern history” without an effective vaccine.

He previously filed a whistleblower complaint claiming he was removed from his position out of “retaliation” when he criticized the Trump Administration’s handling of the crisis.

“Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities,” Bright  will say in a prepared statement to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.

Bright also warned that there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, which will complicate the “challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system.”

He also called for more widespread testing and contact tracing to prevent further spread of the virus.  

Those recommendations are being echoed by New York state, as the new Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19 has infected 82 patients.  The new syndrome has symptoms that overlap with Kawasaki disease.

53 of those 82 cases tested positive for COVID-19 or had the antibodies in their system.   Overall, New York has 102 reported cases, where three children ages five to 18 have died.

14 other states have since confirmed cases of the new syndrome: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C. 

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