American Medical Association Urges Trump to 'Save Countless Lives' by Sharing Critical COVID Info With Biden Transition Team

Amid reports of blocked transition efforts between President Donald Trump's administration and his successor, Joe Biden, doctors and nurses speaking from a "front-line human perspective" are urging the president to be open with sharing information about the coronavirus pandemic with the president-elect's team.

The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association told the president in a letter that sharing information on therapeutics and supplies necessary for testing and responding to the health crisis is needed to "save countless lives."

Trump and his campaign team are still disputing the results of the election. The president has yet to concede, and his stonewalling of the transition has raised concerns that the president-elect's team could be unprepared after he is inaugurated on January 20, a problem that could amplify the pandemic's dangers.

"All information about the capacity of the Strategic National Stockpile, the assets from Operation Warp Speed, and plans for dissemination of therapeutics and vaccines needs to be shared as quickly as possible to ensure that there is continuity in strategic planning so that there is no lapse in our ability to care for patients," the associations wrote in the letter.

Newsweek reached out to the Trump administration for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

donald trump joe biden covid
President Donald Trump visits his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on November 3. On Tuesday, a group of medical organizations wrote a letter encouraging him to share information about the coronavirus pandemic with Joe Biden's transition team. Saul Loeb/Getty

The associations noted that the timing of the transition made it even more important that the Trump administration "work closely" with the Biden transition team before he takes office. Since the election, two companies—Moderna and Pfizer—have released findings from their vaccine trials that show the candidates to be well within the margin of efficacy that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, would want to see. Pfizer's vaccine reportedly has an over 90 percent efficacy rate, with Moderna's up to 94.5 percent.

Vaccines have progressed at unprecedented rates, in part because of the Trump administration's financial investment. Under Operation Warp Speed, the administration purchased doses of vaccine candidates with the goal of having 300 million doses by January. The goal was to prevent delays in a vaccine reaching the public. In August, Fauci told Bloomberg TV's Balance of Power that proactively producing the vaccine could save months in getting people inoculated.

Last Friday, Trump said an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine was coming "extremely soon" and will be available to front-line workers, elderly people and those who are considered high risk in a "matter of weeks."

Trump also maintained that his administration would take charge in distributing the vaccine, but without a smooth transition, inoculations could be delayed, Fauci said Monday on the Today show. He likened a coordinated transition to the "passing of the baton without stopping running" and said the goal is to start vaccinating people in December, then "really get the ball rolling" in the beginning of 2021.

"We want a smooth process for that. And the way you do that is by essentially having the two groups speak to each other and exchange information," Fauci said on Today.

On November 9, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the White House coronavirus task force would communicate with Biden's team "if there's a transition." On Sunday, Vivek Murthy, co-chair of Biden's coronavirus advisory board, told Fox News Sunday the team hadn't seen the Trump administration's data or plans.

If the two don't coordinate, Biden said Monday, "more people may die," because waiting until January 20 to start planning for vaccine distribution would put his administration a month or a month and a half behind.

While the medical associations are urging the Trump administration to ensure a smooth transition, they concluded the letter by saying they "stand ready" to work with the current president to do "all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide care to those who have been infected."