Biden asked Fauci to be his chief medical advisor, and Fauci said yes 'on the spot'

( MSN )

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be President-elect Joe Biden's chief medical advisor once Biden enters the White House in January.

Biden on Thursday asked Fauci to take up the role, he told CNN Thursday.

Fauci told NBC's "Today" show Friday that he had said yes "on the spot."

Biden's COVID-19 team met with Fauci for the first time on Thursday.

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

Biden unveiled his 13-person COVID-19 advisory board in November. The panel will be led by three chairs: Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general; Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of medicine at Yale University; and David Kessler, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

Biden also added that he'd take a COVID-19 vaccine when it was safe, as he warned the public was "losing faith" in a shot.

Relations between Fauci and President Donald Trump have soured over the pandemic. Trump has been reluctant to impose mask mandates and lockdowns, and come under fire for not attending a coronavirus task force meeting in five months.

Trump has also stalled the presidential transition process, making it harder for Biden's team to communicate with Fauci and other public health experts.

Fauci spoke out against this in November, saying said it would be "better" for public health if he and other health officials could begin working with the president-elect's transition team.

Fauci has also accused the Trump campaign of "in effect harassing" him after using a clip of him praising the US COVID-19 response out of context in a campaign ad.

The US is dealing with the worst coronavirus outbreak of any country in the world. Almost 14 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and more than 273,000 COVID-19 deaths had been reported.

Thursday marked the first day of "substantive discussions about the transition between me and the Biden team," Fauci said.

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