Mr. Biden said on Monday that the result of a delay in coordinated planning for the distribution of a vaccine was that "more people may die" from the virus. His advisers offered more specifics on Tuesday, saying that the incoming team needs access to information about medical supply chains, data on testing, specifics about therapeutic efforts and other data that will be critical once the Biden administration is in charge of carrying out the Covid response.
"There is valuable information inside the administration that is held by career officials," said Dr. Vivek Murthy, a chairman of Mr. Biden's advisory board and a former surgeon general. "We need to talk to those individuals. We need to work together with them."
But the advisers also said that the positive news about promising vaccines should encourage Americans that closed businesses and mask-wearing will not last forever, though Dr. Kessler said that people should continue to strictly adhere to the health guidelines for several more months.
"For the first time, we can see an end to this epidemic," he said.
Mr. Biden's online session with the former national security officials was a partial substitute for official daily briefings, which deliver real-time intelligence and analysis drawn from the federal government's vast global resources. Like Mr. Biden's health advisers, his national security team is instead relying on news reports and informal contacts for information about world events and security threats.
The briefers included Mr. Biden's longtime foreign policy aide, Antony J. Blinken, a former deputy secretary of state and a possible pick to be his national security adviser, and his transition team's director of foreign policy, Avril Haines, a former deputy at the Central Intelligence Agency. Also in attendance were four retired military generals, including Stanley A. McChrystal, whom President Barack Obama fired in 2010, along with Samantha Power, who served as Mr. Obama's U.N. ambassador.
The Presidential Transition
Updated Nov. 17, 2020, 7:47 p.m. ET
"I think we have to renew America's leadership and put the United States back at the head of the table," Mr. Biden told the group in his only public remarks. Reflecting his campaign message that America's standing in the world depends on its strength at home, Mr. Biden said that "we are going to need to reinvigorate our democracy."
Mr. Biden offered few other details about the conversation, which featured a notably diverse group, especially by the largely white male standards of the national security establishment.