Did the outgoing Trump administration leave Joe Biden and his COVID-19 team without a plan to deal with the pandemic? For the first week of the new administration, the messaging has emphasized the absence of any logistical plans, inventory control, or any coherent guidance. White House officials tell reporters anonymously that the Biden team had to “start from scratch.”
That’s utter and complete malarkey, officials from Operation Warp Speed tell National Review today. They held over 300 meetings with Biden’s transition team members and laid out a clear plan for them to follow. Furthermore, the results prove their plan worked:
“We provided the Biden team over 300 transition meetings, including the very first one on Warp Speed which I kicked off myself,” former Health and Human Services chief of staff Brian Harrison told National Review. “The idea that they’re walking in, having no clue what was going on, is absolutely preposterous.”
Another former senior administration official noted the difference between the distribution of vaccines – the logistical efforts to transport the vaccines to the proper locations – and the actual administration of the vaccines, or actually getting needles into arms.
What about new CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s claim on Sunday that she had no idea how many doses of vaccines she had? Also preposterous, these officials claim, and they point out that the records will prove it:
The former official described the distribution plan, which is being managed by U.S. Army general Gustave Perna, as “extraordinarily detailed” and “comprehensive.”
“It’s gone flawlessly,” the former official said. “Like, out of tens of thousands of deliveries under extreme cold storage conditions, I think three out of like 30,000 didn’t make it to the right place at the right time. So, it’s a 99.99 percent success rate of shipping to the right place at the right time in the right quantity, under the right conditions.”
That should be easy to prove or disprove, no? Let’s look at the shipping records and see whether the logistical plan worked. If millions of doses have gone missing, then Team Biden wins the point. If, however, the records show a 99% success and accuracy rate on distribution to the states, then it would appear that Team Biden’s been fibbing to lower expectations and shift blame pre-emptively for any problems they create or cause themselves.
The same is true for Walensky’s claim of having no inventory control. Drug manufacturers keep detailed records on shipments for a number of reasons. Did Walensky bother to ask them for the data? Did she check her own website, which continues to update the vaccine and vaccination numbers with surprising precision and detail?
Perhaps Joe Biden’s already conceding the answer. After media outlets began reporting that the “no plan” Trump administration had already achieved Biden’s goal of 1 million vaccinations a day, Biden stretched the goal late yesterday:
“I think with the grace of God . . . we’ll be able to get that to 1.5 million a day,” Biden told reporters.
A million a day is still his minimum goal, Biden said, but “I hope we’ll be able to increase as we go along so we’ll get to 1.5 million. That’s my hope.”
The recalibration reflects the reality that the country is already close to the million-a-day pace, using procedures put in place by the Trump administration. Over the past few days, Biden’s nascent administration has faced criticism for setting an artificially low goal — though when it first made the pledge, circumstances were different and it seemed potentially hard to meet.
Biden set the same goal as the Trump administration did, much like Biden’s plan basically copied what the previous administration was already doing. He and his team tried papering over Biden’s latest plagiarism by pretending that his source never planned anything at all, a claim so preposterous that even the national media didn’t swallow it for very long. It’s not an impressive start for the “no malarkey” administration, and it’s not likely to get much better from here.