As the coronavirus outbreak continues to tighten its grip around the world, US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering replacing the secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar over the initial handling of the pandemic. The Wall Street Journal and Politico reported first on April 25. However, White House spokesperson Judd Deere has denied the report and said Azar continues to lead the HHS in the country. While acknowledging the missteps taken by the US government in the preliminary stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, Deere reportedly said that ‘any speculation is about personnel is irresponsible and a distraction from the whole government’.
The US-based media outlets apparently cited six people who were familiar with the meetings in the Trump administration who said that the disagreement and frustration over Azar’s leadership were growing more intense. But the US officials are refraining from taking any major steps in the administration while the country is still struggling to contain the drastic spread of the highly contagious disease of coronavirus. As of April 26, US has recorded 960,896 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with at least 54,265 fatalities. Another American media outlet even listed names that are being considered to replace Azar including Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator and HHS Secretary Eric Hargan.
Trump administration looking for Azar's replacement came days after the head of the government agency in the US that is in charge of leading the production and purchase of coronavirus vaccines has claimed that the reason for his abrupt dismissal is him resisting Trump against using unproved drugs on COVID-19 patients. In an unprecedented development in the US over its response to the coronavirus outbreak, Dr Rick Bright had reportedly opposed the usage of, Trump’s most touted drug, hydroxychloroquine on the patients. According to Bright, that was the reason behind him being reassigned to a lower position in the medical agency. Since 2016, Dr Rick Bright was leading BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, until he was removed on April 21.