Dr. Richard Bright, who filed a whistleblower complaint against his former boss at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for failing to replenish personal protective equipment (PPE) as coronavirus spread, is preparing to issue a dire warning on the coming winter.
According to CNN, Bright's prepared testimony for his Thursday appearance before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's health subcommittee will warn of the repercussions of failing to properly prepare for the pandemic.
"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," he is expected to say.
"Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history."Bright will allegedly reiterate his belief that he was removed from his post due to his resistance to efforts to push chloroquine — which Donald Trump frequently touted as a COVID-19 cure — on the American public without transparency about the health risks it carries. Bright is also expected to address his alleged warnings of the coming PPE shortages that he says fell on deaf ears.
"As I reflect on the past few months of this outbreak, it is painfully clear that we were not as prepared as we should have been," his prepared statement reportedly reads.
"We missed early warning signals and we forgot important pages from our pandemic playbook."Bright's whistleblower complaint takes particular aim at his former boss, Robert Kadlec, who he claims ignored his coronavirus warnings and ultimately removed him from his position after the virus became a severe public health issue.As reported by Politico, a former HHS official claimed that Bright was a target for removal from the beginning due to his exclusion from his colleagues, who they called a "tight-knit cadre" of Trump supporters. Conversely, other current and former HSS staff painted a less clear picture of Bright, with some suggesting he was inspiring and others that he alienated others. Regardless, Politico reports that the staff confirmed at least part of Bright's complaint — that the Trump administration put an "unusual" degree of political pressure on the department to ignore questions about chloroquine's effectiveness and safety for coronavirus treatment.
The HHS has pushed back against the allegations in Bright's whistleblower complaint. As for Bright, his attorney, Debra Katz, suggested that he expected attacks on his reputation after filing his complaint and stands by his claims.