Last month, Rick Bright, head of the US federal agency for the development of a coronavirus vaccine, was fired after he blew a whistle on the implications of the possible use of a drug that was earlier touted by President Trump as a potential therapy for COVID-19.
In his online testimony to the Subcommittee on Health in the House of Representatives on Thursday, former Director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Rick Bright warned that the country may face an even worse crisis if the government fails to take additional measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
He claimed that the US’ “window of opportunity is closing” and that “without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in [the] modern history” of the country.
The ex-BARDA head slammed the Trump administration over what he described as its failure to fulfil a “standard, centralised, coordinated plan” on the COVID-19 fight, arguing that the White House had missed “early warning signals” to curb the spread of the virus.
Bright remained downbeat about Washington’s optimism to make a coronavirus vaccine in around “a 12 to 18 month timeframe”.
He also said that he would “never forget” a recent email from Mike Bowen, the testimony hearing’s other witness and the vice president of the medical supply company Prestige Ameritech; in the email, Bowen allegedly indicated that the US supply of N95 respirator masks was at a perilous level.
“He said, ‘We’re…