President-elect Joe Biden announced the formation of a new 13-member coronavirus task force Monday as part of his transition team process.
Biden had teased the move in a number of campaign appearances throughout the fall. It will be chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Murthy and Kessler — respective alumnus of the Obama and George H. W. Bush administrations — have led Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ coronavirus briefings over the past several months, as The Washington Post noted.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.” (RELATED: ‘God And History Have Called Upon Us’ —‚ Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Claim Victory In Presidential Election)
Several other prominent medical professionals will join the task force, Biden’s announcement claimed. That group includes an additional number of former Obama and Trump administration officials, including Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Rick Barda, former National Affordable Care Act architect Ezekiel Emmanuel, and National Security Council Director for medical and biodefense preparedness Luciana Borio, and former global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby.
The other members of the group include:
Harvard Medical School’s Atul Gawande
The University of Minnesota’s Michael T. Osterholm
New York University’s Celine R. Gounder
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Julie Morita
Global Health Council’ Loyce Pace
UCSF School of Medicine’s Robert Rodriguez
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) November 9, 2020
Biden also addressed news that Pfizer’s vaccine candidate has a 90 percent efficacy rate in a separate Monday statement.
“It is also important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away,” he stated. “This news follows a previously announced timeline by industry officials that forecast vaccine approval by late November. Even if that is achieved, and some Americans are vaccinated later this year, it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country. “