Top coronavirus expert warns winter 2020 could be 'darkest in modern history'

A coronavirus expert has warned that the United States faces ‘its darkest winter in modern history’ if the disease is not quickly controlled.

Immunologist Dr Rick Bright will warn of huge death tolls in his statement to a government committee on Thursday, and will say: ‘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.’

Dr Bright’s statement continued: ‘The undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of (Covid-19) this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health-care system.”

‘Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history.’

Dr Bright will make his remarks to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee after being fired from his government job earlier this year, allegedly for warning Donald Trump’s administration to prepare for the pandemic. The president has come under fire for being too slow to respond to the pandemic, pushing unproven or dangerous cures, and now hailing states which have begun to reopen despite warnings of a second spike of Covid-19.

A US federal watchdog agency said there were ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Bright was removed from his post as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after sounding the alarm at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright claims he became a target of criticism when he urged early efforts to invest in vaccine development and stock up on supplies.

He says the only way to avoid the disaster he predicts is to implement a national testing strategy to grasp the scale of the problem, rather than leaving it to individual states. Bright also called on large-scale public education on hand-washing and wearing masks. He appeared to make a dig at President Trump’s refusal to don a face-covering, saying: ‘Frankly, our leaders must lead by modeling the behavior.’

The immunologist’s other advice involves dramatically increasing production of vital medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as the implementation of a distribution system to ensure that areas which need supplies most can get them, rather than forcing them to bid against one another for equipment.

President Trump has dismissed Dr Bright’s claims against him and claims the medic is a ‘disgruntled guy.’

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