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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci will stay on at the National Institutes of Health and plans to meet virtually with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team for the first time Thursday to discuss the coronavirus response, he told CBS News.

Why it matters: Fauci, widely viewed as one of the country's most trusted voices on the coronavirus, said it will be the first "substantive" conversation between he and Biden's team. He said he has not yet spoken with Biden directly, but has connected several times with incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

What they're saying: "I'm going to be meeting with them today, by Zoom, by virtually. So today will be the first day where there will be substantive discussions about the transition between me and the Biden team," Fauci told CBS' "The Takeout" podcast in an episode airing on Friday.

  • "I'm very pleased that today we're having the first discussion about a number of things, vaccinations and things like that."

The big picture: Fauci, who had a tense relationship with President Trump and is a frequent target of attacks by his allies, said he would have liked to see the formal transition to the Biden administration begin sooner. It had been delayed because the Trump administration declined to grant so-called "ascertainment" of Biden's election victory until weeks after the election.

  • "Having served six administrations, I've been through five transitions, and I know that transitions are really important if you want to get a smooth handing over of the responsibility," Fauci said.
  • "I would have liked to have seen us getting involved with the team as early as we possibly can because we want the smooth transition to occur," Fauci said. "Everyone believes that a smooth transition is certainly better than no transition."

Go deeper

L.A. becomes first county to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases

COVID-19 mass-vaccination of healthcare workers takes place at Dodger Stadium. Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials said Saturday they had detected the county's first case of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Why it matters: The announcement came as L.A. became the first county to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, straining the area's already overwhelmed health care system.

Biden outlines plan to reverse Trump policies on first day of presidency

President-elect Joe Biden at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will roll back some of President Trump's most controversial policies and address "four overlapping and compounding crises" in his first 10 days in office — the pandemic, the economic downturn, climate change and racial inequity.

Driving the news: The plan is outlined in a memo from incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain Saturday. Following Biden's inauguration Wednesday, he'll "sign roughly a dozen actions to combat the four crises," Klain said.

24 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.