President-elect Joe Biden announced his administration’s senior health and coronavirus officials Monday, including his nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Biden further named Dr. Anthony Fauci as his chief medical adviser, Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. Surgeon General and Dr. Rochelle Walensky to be Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director. His coronavirus team will include COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, deputy coordinator Natalie Quillian. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith will additionally serve on the COVID-19 Equity Task Force.
“This trusted and accomplished team of leaders will bring the highest level of integrity, scientific rigor, and crisis-management experience to one of the toughest challenges America has ever faced — getting the pandemic under control so that the American people can get back to work, back to their lives, and back to their loved ones,” the president-elect said in a statement released Monday morning.
“This team of world-class medical experts and public servants will be ready on day one to mobilize every resource of the federal government to expand testing and masking, oversee the safe, equitable, and free distribution of treatments and vaccines, re-open schools and businesses safely, lower prescription drug and other health costs and expand affordable health care to all Americans, and rally the country and restore the belief that there is nothing beyond America’s capacity if we do it together.” (Biden Calls On Nation To Wear A Mask For His First 100 Days In Office — Asks Fauci To Be Chief Medical Advisor)
“Containing this coronavirus pandemic and opening our economy responsibly require listening to experts and leaders like the ones we are bringing together on this health care team,” Vice President-elect Kamala Harris added of the group. “They are some of America’s top physicians, public health experts, and crisis-tested public servants, and they reflect the very best of our nation.”
Biden’s announcement comes one day after Dr. Moncef Slaoui, President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed chief, said he would meet with the president-elect’s team in the following week to go over the Trump administration’s vaccine distribution plan.
Biden criticized the Trump administration this past week, claiming that “there is no detailed plan that we’ve seen, anyway, as to how you get the vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into somebody’s arm.”
The president-elect met with Fauci last week virtually for their first “substantive” discussion since the 2020 election and called on all Americans to wear masks during his first 100 days in office.
“Just 100 days to mask, not forever,” he stated. “100 days, and I think we’ll see a significant reduction.”