This week KX News visited with a member of President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force.
We visited with Dr. John Fleming about the state of the pandemic in North Dakota and the accelerated process of vaccine development. Click here to see Part One of our interview.
Dr. Fleming is a Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House, and an Assistant to the President for Planning and Implementation.
We asked Dr. Fleming how his task force defines success in the ongoing pandemic.
He said, in the end, success “is the end of the pandemic, which is going to occur once we put on the market a safe and effective vaccine.” He expects that to occur before the end of 2020.
“In the meantime, we’ve developed what we call therapeutics, which is like Remdesivir, Dexamethasone and plasma, which has really improved the lengths of stay in the hospital, improved the fatality rates, and as a result, we’re learning to live with this disease,” he continued.
He said those therapeutic treatments will provide a “bridge” to a vaccine, which he expects “in just a few short months.”
“That will end this pandemic,” he said.
We also asked Dr. Fleming whether to expect more federal energy and money put toward rapid testing, which Governor Doug Burgum has touted as a potential game-changer for North Dakota.
He said rapid testing has its limitations — but identified a test from the company Abbott called BinaxNow as promising.
“It’s extremely accurate,” Dr. Fleming said. “It still must be done by a healthcare professional — it’s not something you could do at home. And there’s 150 million of those going out as we speak.”
In the meantime, he said North Dakotans should continue to quarantine themselves if they test positive for the coronavirus or display symptoms of COVID-19.