Nunez-Smith says Biden, Trump advisors need to work together

Nunez-Smith says Biden, Trump advisors need to work together

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Yale professor who co-chairs President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisory board says she is optimistic that President Donald Trump’s coronavirus advisors will work with her group during the transition.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith said there has been no communication yet with “even the career folks in the administration who really have valuable information and insights.”

“It hasn’t happened yet, but we are very open to that,” Nunez-Smith said during a conference call with Connecticut reporters and Gov. Ned Lamont. “We would appreciate a chance to work together.”

There is a long “wish list” of information the incoming administration would like to get about the Trump administrations COVID-19 strategy, with plans for the storage and distribution of a vaccine at or near the top, she said.

“We know that there are people who are very thoughtful and smart and creative who are in the current administration who are working on this now and finding solutions,” she said. “So that is one of many things that it would just be in everybody’s best interest if we were to sync as teams in this process.”

Nunez-Smith also reiterated that Biden plans to work with governors, mayors and other elected leaders to see the United States “get to that place where we in effect have national agreement and unification and adherence to mask-wearing standards.”

In other coronavirus related news:



Lamont has requested that the National Guard be allowed to continue supporting the state’s coronavirus response efforts through the middle of next year.

The governor, in a letter to President Trump, also requested that the federal government pick up 100% of the cost of using those troops.

The current authorization is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.

More than 1,000 members of the Guard have been deployed in Connecticut during the pandemic, performing tasks such as setting up field hospitals, distributing personal protective equipment, assisting in nursing home inspections and helping to run COVID-19 testing sites.

Between April 2 and Sept. 30, the federal government picked up the entire cost of those deployments Since Oct. 1, the state has been responsible for 25% of the cost.

The governor’s office said Monday that change is estimated to cost the state $2.5 million during the current authorization.



Lamont also said he is working with the region’s other governors on unified guidance for college students traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday.

He said that plan will require students to test negative for the coronavirus before boarding flights for their home state and again once they arrive in their home state.



Lamont and members of his executive staff, including chief of staff Paul Mounds and chief operating officer Josh Geballe, have been in quarantine since Friday after Lamont’s communications director tested positive for the coronavirus.

That spokesman, Max Reiss, said he’s not sure how he contracted the virus.

Lamont said Monday that he tested negative for the virus twice since the news conference and plans to be tested again on Thursday at the latest.

“We’re going to be good,” Lamont said.

Gaballe said no other members of the administration have received a positive test since Friday.

Mounds has said the quarantine is not expected to impact the work of the staff, much of which has been done remotely during the pandemic.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, who were at a news conference Friday that was attended by Reiss and the governor, also have been isolating themselves while awaiting results of coronavirus tests.



The governor’s office reported that 757 patients were hospitalized Monday with COVID-19.

That is up by 98 patients since Friday.

The state also recorded 22 coronavirus-linked deaths over the weekend, bringing the total for November to 143 and the total since the pandemic began to 4,759.

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