Indian-American physician Dr. Vivek Murthy on November 9 was named one of the three co-chairs of the COVID-19 task-force that will guide President-elect Joe Biden on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 2,36,000 lives in the country.
Dr. Murthy, 43, a former U.S. Surgeon General, along with two other co-chairs — Dr. David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith — would lead a team of leading public health experts who will advise Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on the deadly virus.
The U.S. is currently the world’s worst-hit nation from 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,” Mr. Biden said.
New cases are rising in at least 40 states, with more than 9.3 million total infections and more than 236,000 deaths, a media release announcing the COVID-19 Advisory Board said.
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, he said.
Dr. Beth Cameron and Dr. Rebecca Katz are serving as advisors to the Transition on COVID-19 and will work closely with the Advisory Board, the Biden-Harris transition team said.
The Biden-Harris transition team launched its official website on November 8. It is called BuildBackBetter.com, and it lists COVID-19 as the main priority — in addition to economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.
Dr. Kessler is a former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner from 1990 to 1997.
Dr. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the U.S. from 2014-2017. Dr. Nunez-Smith is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management at Yale University and the Associate Dean for Health Equity Research at the Yale School of Medicine.
Mr. Biden has pledged to bring leadership to the COVID pandemic, which continues to claim thousands of lives each week, by curbing the spread of the disease, providing free treatment to those in need, and elevating the voices of scientists and public health experts, it said.
The COVID-19 Advisory Board will help guide the Biden-Harris Transition in planning for the President-elect’s robust federal response, the media release said.
These leading scientists and public health experts will consult with state and local officials to determine the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families, to address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities, and to reopen our schools and businesses safely and effectively.
Among members of the board include Indian-American Atul Gawande, who previously served as a senior advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration.
Other members of the Advisory Board are Luciana Borio, Rick Bright; Ezekiel Emanuel; Celine Gounder; Julie Morita; Michael Osterholm; Loyce Pace; Robert Rodriguez; and Eric Goosby.
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