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Dr. Fauci accepts Biden's offer to join COVID team 'right on the spot'

The president-elect also tells CNN he'll ask Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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President-elect Joe Biden tells CNN he will take the vaccine publicly once Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's safe.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

US President-elect Joe Biden wants Dr. Anthony Fauci to be part of his administration's COVID-19 response team, bringing continuity to the country's efforts to fight a once-in-a-century pandemic. On Friday, Fauci told the Today show that he accepted the offer "right on the spot."

"Oh, absolutely. I said yes right on the spot," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, when asked about Biden's offer to serve as chief medical adviser in the new administration, which takes over on Jan. 20.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Biden said he asked Fauci to continue to lead NIAID and join the COVID-19 response team. 

"I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents," Biden said. "I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well and be part of the COVID team."  

Fauci is a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force but has frequently come under fire from Trump for his science-backed recommendations to help slow the spread. 

In the US, more than 276,000 people have died from COVID-19 and more than 14 million cases have been confirmed, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard.

Biden added he will get a coronavirus vaccination publicly once it is approved as an effort to restore "faith in the ability of the vaccine to work." The president-elect's comments mirror offers earlier this week from former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to get the vaccine on camera.

Biden also said he will ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days. On Friday, Fauci said he spoke to Biden about the 100-day mask plan and thought it was a "good idea."

The president-elect called a $900 billion stimulus bill now before Congress a "good start." He said his administration will ask for more money to address the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. 

"People are really hurting," Biden said. "They're scared to death."

CNET's Andrew Morse contributed to this report.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.