What does the outcome of the US presidential election mean for science and health?
The result will not only dictate the future of the nation’s COVID-19 response, but the future of various federal agencies, top officials, health care laws, and global health in general.
The CDC: The nation’s leading public health agency has consistently been sidelined and contradicted by President Trump, suggesting there may be an “exodus of talent” from the agency if Trump is re-elected, STAT reports.
Anthony Fauci: Relations between Fauci and Trump have deteriorated, leaving a question mark over whether Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will keep his job in a second Trump administration.
The FDA: The agency is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of confidence amid concerns that the COVID-19 vaccine search has been politicized. If Biden wins, he faces a substantial challenge of restoring trust in the agency.
WHO: Trump began the process of pulling the US out of the WHO, upending its funding and introducing major hurdles to international research collaboration. If Biden wins, he can reverse that move—but he’d also have to contend with widespread calls to reform the agency.
Climate: President Trump has weakened environmental regulations, including reducing fuel efficiency standard for cars, Scientific American reports. The administration’s existing rollbacks would add the equivalent of an estimated 1.8 billion metric tons of excess carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2035.
Affordable Care Act: The Trump administration has launched numerous failed efforts to repeal the ACA and offered no clear plan for replacing it. Regardless of who wins, the ACA and Roe v. Wade both hang in the balance in the Supreme Court—which now has a 6-to-3 conservative majority.