Hours after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. declared the coronavirus a top priority, the magnitude of his task became starkly clear on Sunday as the nation surpassed 10 million cases and sank deeper into the grip of what could become the worst chapter yet of the pandemic.
The nation's worsening outlook comes at an extremely difficult juncture: President Trump, who remains in office until January, is openly at odds with his own coronavirus advisers, and winter, when infections are only expected to spread faster, is coming.
In a victory speech on Saturday night, Mr. Biden said he was quickly focusing his attention on the pandemic, including plans on Monday to announce a task force of coronavirus advisers.
He named Dr. Rick Bright, a former top vaccine official in the Trump administration who submitted a whistle-blower complaint to Congress, as a member of a Covid-19 panel to advise him during the transition, officials announced Monday morning.
Dr. Bright, who was ousted as the head of a federal medical research agency, told lawmakers that officials in the government had failed to heed his warnings about acquiring masks and other supplies. He said that Americans died from the virus because of the administration's failure to act, telling a House panel, "Lives were endangered, and I believe lives were lost"
Mr. Biden's decision to put Dr. Bright on his advisory panel is intended to send a signal that the incoming administration intends to confront the virus — which is surging in more than half of the country — in very different than did Mr. Trump, who sought to largely push responsibility onto states.
In a statement, Mr. Biden said that "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 had already revealed the three co-chairs of the panel. On Monday, officials said the 13-member panel includes Dr. Zeke Emanuel, an oncologist and the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Emanuel, who is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, who served in the Obama administration, has been a high-profile advocate of a more aggressive approach to the virus.
The other members of the panel are: Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital; Dr. Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine; Dr. Julie Morita, the Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota; Ms. Loyce Pace, the Executive Director and President of Global Health Council; Dr. Robert Rodriguez, a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine; and Dr. Eric Goosby, a professor of medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.
November 9, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. Great news this morning that Pfizer (yes, without Trump money) reported on a promising vaccine. Joe also named his #CovidTaskForce to work on policy, inc. vaccine distribution, and advise our #PresidentElect. Fingers crossed.
At least we know with Joe in the White House, the vaccine will go to all states, not just red states. #JoeLeadership
Here are the members of the TaskForce - everyone a Dr. Dr Fauci is a government employees, can’t be added before Inauguration Day.