New whistleblower complaint says the Trump administration got dire warnings about COVID-19 — but didn't act: report
A Trump administration official who believes he has been retaliated against by the federal government has filed a whistleblower complaint alleging major failures to respond to the coronavirus in the face of dire warnings, the Daily Beast reported on Tuesday.
Dr. Rick Bright has already made headlines after he was removed from his post overseeing vaccine development at the National Institutes of Health. He has claimed his transfer away from that position was retaliation for his opposition to the administration and President Donald Trump's promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, despite no solid evidence for its effectiveness.
Now, Bright's new whistleblower complaint filed on Tuesday alleged that there was "a staggering degree of inaction from administration officials bracing for a historic pandemic," the Daily Beast reported.
Bright, who served as a program leader within the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), says he raised alarms about supply chain shortages early on during the coronavirus’ spread. While certain officials inside the administration shared his fears—most notably, President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro—others did not.
One of Bright’s biggest frustrations was saved for procurement of masks, which he said he recognized early on would be a critical need in the coronavirus pandemic. Bright said that on January 21, 2020, Mike Bowen, co-owner and Executive Vice President of domestic surgical mask producer Prestige Ameritech, emailed him that the Department of Homeland Security had contacted him about procuring masks. Bright raised Bowen’s concerns internally about getting production of N95 masks up and going. But for a week nothing happened. Eventually, Bowen emailed again.
“I think we’re in deep shit,” it read.
Read the full report.