Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force Adviser Quits
President Donald Trump’s controversial adviser resigned Monday, while hopes for a first wave of vaccinations before the end of 2020 received a further boost with an announcement from US firm Moderna.
Scott Atlas, a favored coronavirus adviser of the US president, who tweeted in October “Masks work? NO,” has submitted his resignation, effective as of December 1, Fox News reported.
Lacking relevant experience or qualifications in public health or infectious disease, he also called in November for people in Michigan to “rise up” against Covid-19 measures.
Atlas stepped down as hopes rose for a first wave of vaccinations before the end of the year after Moderna said it was filing for emergency authorization of its vaccine in the United States and Europe.
After top US scientists warned Americans to brace for a “surge superimposed on the surge,” Moderna reported full results had confirmed a high efficacy estimated at 94.1 percent.
It was set to join American pharmaceutical maker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, which applied for similar approvals last week, and have predicted their vaccine could be greenlit in the US shortly after December 10.
If the US Food and Drug Administration agrees Moderna’s product is safe and effective, the first of the drug’s two doses could be injected into the arms of millions of Americans by the middle of December.
Health Secretary Alex Azar told CBS News: “We could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people’s arms before Christmas.”
Co-developed with the US National Institutes of Health, the jabs were generally well tolerated, with the most common side effects including injection site pain, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain and headache.
Moderna expects to have approximately 20 million doses of the vaccine available in the US by the end of 2020, and between 500 million to a billion doses globally in 2021.
The news came after leading US scientist Anthony Fauci voiced his fears as millions of travelers returned home after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 267,000 Covid-19 deaths, and the Trump administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.
“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” Fauci said Sunday.