Joe Biden continues to move forward assuming he is the president-elect, and he’s pledged to focus on controlling the coronavirus pandemic by listening to the experts. And now we know who those voices will be.
Biden’s coronavirus task force will be co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Yale professor Marcella Nunez-Smith, physicians who have been critical of mixing politics with science.
“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 Monday statement. “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.”
Biden will meet with the panel’s 10 members Monday, just as Vice President Mike Pence will meet with the White House task force for the first time in 20 days, according to Reuters.
“What we’re missing is leadership,” Murthy said at the Democratic National Convention. “We need a leader who works with states to ensure that everyone who needs a test gets one, and gets results quickly. A leader who secures a safe, effective vaccine and distributes it quickly and fairly. A leader who inspires us to practice distancing and wear masks—not as a political statement but as a patriotic duty.”
The panel includes Rick Bright, who in April filed a complaint that his refusal to promote hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment led to his removal as Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority head.
Murthy was appointed as surgeon general in 2014 under President Barack Obama. Kessler was appointed as FDA commissioner in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush. Nunez-Smith has spent two decades working in health equity. Murthy is a Yale graduate. Kessler has been the Yale medical school dean. Nunez-Smith is a Yale professor.
There hasn’t been this sort of Yale influence in the White House since the Bulldogs were represented by the Bushes as president.