Joe Biden's future chief of staff has battled pandemics before

Ron Klain served as President Barack Obama’s “Ebola czar” in the fight against the 2014 pandemic.
5:39 | 11/13/20

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Transcript for Joe Biden's future chief of staff has battled pandemics before
A. Blue. And I'm Ron Klain I was the White House global response coordinator for President Obama from what he 142050. Previously served as vice president Biden's chief snap as a senior advisor to the president. The a bowl epidemic West Africa really started in late 2013. And I continued in early 2014 in Guinea. Sierra Leone and Liberia I first there was a lot of underestimating the threat. Underestimating it must after underestimating around the world and by late summer it was raging out of control all three. Of those West African countries. And so by the fall it became clear that we're dealing with a very very very serious problem. That pose the risk of massive loss of life in West Africa. Spread to adjacent countries in late September. Diseases raging out of control in West Africa the US is ramping up its response and the calls of the White House accelerate the response really rose. It's a mid October I was at my desk right practice law the phone rang this pres Obama. And they asked about come back to the government and oversee. His responsible. I sit back it was Mr. President I'm not an expert on this. I think if you pick me for this job you're getting a lot of grief I'm getting a lot of grief. The president explain that. Woody woody we already had the best medical experts in the world working on the problem. And he was frustrated that the government wasn't able to turn their expertise and action as quickly as he wanted. They thought my experience working in the government may be the right person. To come in and listen to scientists and take their scientific knowledge and charted in the kind of wide scale response we needed. Ron Klain is known as the ball as. And the other stakeholders on the ground there's clearly no substitute for leadership from a white house. On Ebola. And keep your Canada like and want to are having now likely to happen if our government people does not airborne disease. So it doesn't spread. Through breathing. Talking. Droplets. Yet that then get inhaled through the nose. That then infect someone. Which is what corona virus to. All. Is it it's transmitted among humans are close in direct physical contact. With infected bodily fluids we think a bullish transmission. It's coming directly and contact. With someone's. Fluids and transmits it as opposed use. Droplets. That that come out of someone's nose or mouth and did someone with corona virus. It's hard to get a big government mobilized. It's hard to get agencies to work together it's hard to get people to work quickly and so when I said the president look I'm I'm worried. That that I don't have a right expertise right back right where you're gonna get criticized for picking these a lot of thought about it. And I figured to come and you're gonna do a great job and so that what people say when I picked it doesn't matter. And if you comment into a bad job though people say when I pick you doesn't matter the least important thing so you're the right course of this job once you come and you. Fighting a bull fighting any epidemic. Involves science first and foremost. And not science only. It also involves logistics and transportation involves planning and involves managing people the scientists if you're doing it right the scientists the doctors set the strategy. President Obama says that the federal government was going to take the lead them. This was something that he wasn't gonna lead to each state to decide he wasn't going to leave each hospital site we're gonna have a federal strategy. And then providing a support direction to implement that strategy. I think over the course of fighting evil a few things became clearer than ever. First that this was just the latest in the series of threats of you to go global perspective and just the US perspective. You saw SARS you saw a rising number of infectious diseases emerging around the world. And a ball it was a wake up call that sooner or later one of these very gently. And more infectious diseases would come the United States to think about a bullet as it's very very lethal. At least it was before we develop some of the treatments we developed when he fourteenth when he fifteen very very scary. It's very hard as credible. And if you have the right controls in place do the right things it shouldn't spread widely. But. In the course of fighting a Paula I think there was lot more focus on the fact that some day. We face a threat that didn't spread easily what did spread to much more casual kind of contact or interaction that spread much more rapidly in population. And so one thing we resolved renewable response was to step up. The US preparation for that more deadly more dangerous. More rapidly spreading epidemic that was going to come to this country Sunday. Get one thing that the Obama administration left. As a result of the work we started during the able response and continue with the pandemic preparation office was a playbook it's easy to know that's what was the set on the front pandemic playbook. And on page nine of the pandemic playbook it said hey here's something to worry about a Kuroda vice. So this threat was identified the playbook with a step by staff. Process ramping up a response from ramping up testing tracing all the things that were needed.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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