Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Office of Special Counsel, is warning that the United States may be running out of time to contain the pandemic, according to his prepared testimony.
Bright’s opening statement for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee highlights a number of critical points including why he believes he was ousted and his repeated warnings about the potential outbreak, which he claims were ignored.
He argues that his removal was a form of retaliation because he “resisted efforts to promote and enable broad access to an unproven drug, chloroquine, to the American people without transparent information on the potential health risks.” Last week, he filed a whistleblower complaint.
Bright is also warning that the United States may be running out of time to contain the virus.
If proper efforts are not made to mitigate the spread of the virus before what could be the “darkest winter in modern history,” Bright believes the lack of preparation could cause “unprecedented illness and fatalities.”
“Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.”
The prepared remarks for the House hearing — which will take place on Thursday before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee — follows reports of Bright’s removal from BARDA in April. At the time, it was also announced that he had been reassigned to a different role for the National Institutes of Health.
Trump added, “A guy says he was pushed out of a job. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. You’d have to hear the other side.”
Bright is seeking reinstatement to his position at BARDA and the Office of Special Counsel. His complaint is currently under review.