The Biden administration isn’t waiting around for the next COVID-19 outbreak to happen.
What’s happening: The Biden administration has gathered a new group of federal health officials to develop tools to fight off future outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.
- The Pandemic Innovation Task Force, which was formed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will look to develop COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, testing measures and more tools to combat future outbreaks, per Bloomberg.
- “It will help prepare the nation for new versions of the virus that might surface and future biological threats beyond Covid-19,” according to Bloomberg.
Quote: “I’ve been waiting for the U.S. to start getting prepared for the next big variant for months,” said Robin Robinson, who served as the first director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, per Bloomberg.
- “We need to focus on how we come out of the pandemic and transition to the endemic phase, where this set of viruses continues to be ubiquitous in nature.”
Driving the news: Multiple experts are already expecting another major COVID-19 variant to start spreading soon.
- “Throughout this pandemic, Mother Nature has not been coy with us. She tells us exactly what she’s going to do, we just choose to ignore it,” said Peter Hotez, a Baylor University College of Medicine vaccine scientist, according to Gray DC.
- “The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 technical lead, according to CNBC.
Yes, but: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the COVID-19 case numbers are “going to continue to come down as we get into the spring and the summer.”
- Gottlieb said normalcy will return “hopefully this spring.”
- “We don’t see anything on the horizon that’s going to dramatically alter that trajectory.”