Ousted federal scientist Dr. Rick Bright, now a whistleblower, is testifying today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“Today, the world is confronting a public health emergency unlike any we’ve seen in over a century,” Bright said in his opening statement. “We are facing a highly transmissible and deadly virus which not only claims lives, but also disrupts the very foundations of our society. The American healthcare system is being taxed to the limit. Our economy is spiraling downward, and our population is being paralyzed by fear, stemming from a lack of a coordinated response and a dearth of accurate, clear communication about the path forward.
“Americans yearn to get back to work, to open their businesses and provide for their families. I get that,” he continued. “However, what we do must be done carefully and with guidance from the best scientific minds. Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged. There will be likely a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall. It will be greatly compounded by the challenges of seasonal influenza. Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history. First and foremost, we need to be truthful with the American people. Americans deserve the truth. The truth must be based on science. We have the world’s greatest scientists. Let us lead. Let us speak without fear of retribution. …
“Initially, our nation was not as prepared as we should have been, as we could have been,” Bright added. “Some scientists raised early warning signals that were overlooked, and pages from our pandemic playbook were ignored by some in leadership. There will be plenty of time to look back to assess what has happened so we can improve, but right now we need to focus on getting things right going forward. We need a comprehensive plan that everyone knows and everyone participates in. Congress has taken important steps to support the response and there’s much more we can do. With your help, we can get through this crisis. Working cooperatively with our global partners, we can and will succeed in finding a cure for COVID-19, but that success depends on what we do today. We will either be remembered for what we did, or what we failed to do, in response to this crisis. I call on all of us to act to ensure the health, safety and prosperity of all Americans. You can count on me to do my part.”
Bright, who headed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), filed a whistleblower complaint last week alleging he was removed from his post in retaliation for opposing the broad use of a drug frequently touted by President Donald Trump as a coronavirus treatment.
Prior to Bright’s testimony, Trump took to Twitter to attack him as a “disgruntled employee.”
Watch Bright’s ongoing testimony live below.