The first Covid briefing by Joe Biden’s new taskforce was beset by a series of technical issues on Wednesday when participants could not be heard, and spoke over the top of one another
Joe Biden’s new Covid taskforce saw their first public meeting descend into virtual chaos after its technology failed. The Covid-19 Response Team was plunged into an awkward silence on Wednesday morning when chair Jeff Zients tried to speak to experts Dr Rochelle Walensky and Dr Anthony Fauci via videolink.
Neither Walensky not Fauci were able to hear him, prompting Zients to sit in silence while he waited for the connection issues to be fixed.
The start of the meeting saw another participant suddenly interrupt Zients to complain about a glitch with her technology. And Dr Rochelle Walensky’s face disappeared as she finally began to speak, with her voice audible over a White House screensaver. She later appeared on screen, and gave updates on the crisis itself, as well as advice on how to try and avoid infections.
But worse was to come shortly after when Dr Anthony Fauci – America’s leading Covid expert – was kept on mute. He was filmed delivering his part of the briefing seemingly unaware that no-one who was listening could hear him.
America’s top Covid expert Dr Anthony Fauci was kept on mute as he began to speak – and graphics he referred to failed to appear on screen
Internet users were quick to joke about the meeting’s blunders, likening them to the Zoom hiccups many of them have experienced since millions of people began working from home in March last year.
Others said the technology issues did not inspire confidence in the taskforce, and called on the White House to hire New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s team. Governor Cuomo’s briefings have become a must-watch among Americans, and are famed for their faultless production, which includes easy to understand, onscreen graphics.
President Biden says his experts will hold regular briefings on the Covid crisis and follow ‘bedrock science’ in an attempt to tackle the virus, which has now killed more than 425,000 Americans.
At one point, participant Dr Rochelle Walensky’s face disappeared, but her voice could be heard speaking over a White House screensaver
Developing story, check back for updates