COVID Plan ‘Built on Bedrock of Science’
November 9, 2020 – President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced his Coronavirus Task Force on Monday, a group of doctors and scientists who will advise the incoming administration on a way to try to stem the pandemic.
“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. “The advisory committee will help shape my approach to managing the outbreak of reported infections; ensure that vaccines are safe, effective and distributed efficiently, equitably and free of charge; and the protection of populations at risk. “
Biden has already attended coronavirus briefing and planning sessions this week, and next week will focus on a pandemic plan and healthcare, The New York Times reported.
“We are not waiting for the job to be done,” he said in a speech Friday night.
On Monday, Biden spoke to reporters and said his task force would create a “master plan that we could put in place as soon as Kamala and I are sworn in,” he said, referring to the deputy. president-elect Kamala Harris. It will be a plan, he said, “built on the foundation of science”.
One of Biden’s stated goals was to restore American leadership in the world and create “a body of contact tracers that will track and curb this disease while prioritizing vaccine preparation and delivery.” which is necessary for the reopening of schools and the return of the economy. on the right track, he said.
Its administration will focus on “scaling up the production of life-saving treatments and therapeutics and, when ready, ensuring that an approved vaccine is distributed fairly and effectively to all Americans free of charge.”
The president-elect also urged all Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“It doesn’t matter who you voted for,” he said, or “where you were before election day. It doesn’t matter which party you take, your point of view. We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone wore a mask for the next few months. No Democratic or Republican lives, American lives. “
Biden’s COVID-19 task force has 10 members and three co-chairs. The co-chairs are Vivek Murthy, MD, a former general surgeon; David Kessler, MD, a former commissioner of the FDA; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. The three were presented as part of a COVID-19 briefing Biden held last month, and Murthy has been privately advising Biden on the coronavirus for months.
The other members are:
- Luciana Borio, MD, vice president at In-Q-Tel. She is also a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Rick Bright, PhD, immunologist, virologist and former public health official. Bright was Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority from 2016-2020 and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, oncologist, vice-provost for global initiatives and chair of the department of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Atul Gawande, MD, general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and professor of health policy and management at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
- Celine Gounder, MD, clinical assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine caring for patients at Bellevue Hospital Center.
- Julie Morita, MD, Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Morita served as the City of Chicago Health Commissioner for almost 2 decades.
- Michael Osterholm, PhD, Regent Professor, McKnight Presidential Chair in Public Health and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
- Loyce Pace, Executive Director and Chairman of the Global Health Council.
- Robert Rodriguez, MD, professor of emergency medicine in the UCSF School of Medicine, where he works in the emergency department and intensive care unit of two large trauma centers.
- Eric Goosby, MD, an internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases and professor of medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at UCSF.
The current White House coronavirus task force has been mostly inactive, with President Donald Trump saying the country is “turning the corner” on the coronavirus. This week, the United States has broken records three days in a row, with more than 100,000 new cases a day – more than 130,000 reported on Friday – and will pass 10 million cases in total today.
About half of the nation’s states also announced records in the past week. Nearly 55,000 people were hospitalized with the virus this weekend, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a number that has been steadily increasing since early October.
Although Biden will not take office until January 20, the task force is now proposing plans to go into effect as soon as that happens, such as increased testing and more personal protective equipment.
The group is also working to make sure vaccines are safe and work well, as well as protecting groups at risk, according to Politico. Subgroups of officials will oversee COVID-19 therapeutics, guidance for schools and state coordination.
“We are still 11 weeks away from the inauguration – it is a potentially dangerous and damaging time for the American public with the virus still raging,” said Kathleen Sebelius, former secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services , at Politico.
“So I hope that [new task force] can give the American public some confidence that they are not alone, that the pandemic is not a Democratic plot, that the numbers are very real and that we have choices, ”she said.
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