Experts warn of vaccine stumbles ‘out of the gate’ because Trump officials refused to consult with Biden team

Experts warn of vaccine stumbles ‘out of the gate’ because Trump officials refused to consult with Biden team

Even as covid-19 cases continue to overwhelm hospitals, the Trump administration balked at close communication with its successor

The last time a presidential transition began during a national emergency — in 2008 amid the Great Recession — the outgoing Bush administration set aside partisanship to work closely with incoming Obama officials on how to deal with the economic collapse.

“Everyone was completely responsive to any question,” said Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama. “They talked to us about major decisions.”

That smooth handoff is in stark contrast to what is happening now as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to assume power during a double-barreled crisis involving a lethal virus and its economic fallout that experts say demands close cooperation. Instead, as the coronavirus overwhelms U.S. hospitals and kills more than 3,300 people a day on average, the Trump administration has balked at providing access to information and failed to consult with its successors, including about distributing the vaccines that offer the greatest hope of emerging from the pandemic.