Coronavirus Whistleblower to Warn of “Darkest Winter in Modern History”

Dr. Rick Bright says he was abruptly ousted for protesting Trump’s hydroxychloroquine push.

The United States will experience the “darkest winter in modern history” in the continued absence of a significantly more robust response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal scientist who was abruptly ousted as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority last month will tell Congress on Thursday. 

“Our window of opportunity is closing,” Dr. Rick Bright plans to tell the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee, according to an advanced release of his opening remarks. “If we fail to develop a nationally coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. While it is terrifying to acknowledge the extent of the challenge that we currently confront, the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID-19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system.”

The statement also said it was “painfully clear” that the administration was woefully underprepared for the crisis, and Bright urged the US to work with international partners in the race for a vaccine. The dire warnings stand in stark contrast to Trump’s premature rush to declare victory, even as the death toll soars past 80,000, but mirrored the assessment Dr. Anthony Fauci gave before a much-anticipated Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Bright is expected to speak about his removal, which he alleges came as a retaliatory move after he had protested President Donald Trump’s aggressive push of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven and potentially dangerous anti-malarial drug, as a coronavirus treatment. 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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