November 8, 2020 8:29:04 am
President-elect Joe Biden said he would appoint a 12-member coronavirus task force on Monday, his first step toward fulfilling one of his biggest campaign promises — to mount an effective response to the pandemic that has infected millions and damaged the U.S. economy.
“I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment, to turn around this pandemic,” Biden said Saturday, as he delivered his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware. The panel will convert his coronavirus-fighting plan into an “action blueprint” that “will be built on a bedrock of science,” he added.
The task force will be co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University, according to a person familiar with his plans. It will also include Ezekiel Emanuel, a former Obama administration health adviser.
The co-chairs of the task force are scheduled to brief Biden on Monday after the members are announced.
Biden has promised a much more muscular response to the pandemic than he says President Donald Trump has made. The virus has infected 9.8 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 237,000 people as daily case counts continue to rise.
Kessler and Murthy were deeply involved in guiding the Biden campaign’s plans for responding to the virus, briefing Biden regularly, helping develop policy and helping top officials organize safe campaign events.
Biden’s plan calls for increased testing capacity, funding for businesses and schools to reopen safely and eventually a vaccine distributed equitably and for free.
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