Joe Biden resumes weekly Covid briefings, let science speak again
Joe Biden resumes weekly Covid briefings, let science speak again

US President Joe Biden is calling up the nation's top scientists and public health experts to regularly brief the American public about the pandemic that has claimed more than 4,25,000 US lives.

Beginning Wednesday, administration experts will host briefings three times a week on the state of the outbreak, efforts to control it and the race to deliver vaccines and therapeutics to end it. Expect a sharp contrast from the last administration's briefings, when public health officials were repeatedly undermined by a president who shared his unproven ideas without hesitation. "We're bringing back the pros to talk about COVID in an unvarnished way," Biden told reporters Tuesday.

"Any questions you have, that's how we'll handle them because we're letting science speak again." The new briefings, beginning just a week into Biden's tenure, are meant as an explicit rejection of his predecessor's approach to the coronavirus outbreak. President Donald Trump claimed center stage and muddled the message of the nation's top public health experts in the critical early days of the virus and eventually largely muzzled them as the pandemic's mortal toll grew steeper.

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The new briefings are part of Biden's attempt to rebuild public confidence in institutions, particularly the federal government, with a commitment to share the bad news with the good. "I'll always level with you about the state of affairs," he said Tuesday, repeating a central pledge of his inaugural address. It's a message that helped carry Biden to the White House.

As a candidate he warned that the nation faced a surge of coronavirus cases in what would be a "dark winter"; Trump, for his part, falsely claimed the worst of the virus was over. Dr. David Hamer, a professor of global health and medicine at Boston University's School of Public Health, said having briefings from health officials that are "based on serious science" would go a long way toward improving public perceptions of the vaccine.


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