Earlier this week, President-elect Joe Biden announced a 13-member Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, which will be led by former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of the Yale University School of Medicine.
The announcement of the Advisory Board, which notably came before the president-elect has named any of his senior White House staff or Cabinet members, demonstrates the high-priority the pandemic response is for Biden as he plans to immediately act out his plan after taking office.
Other members of the task force:
- Dr. Luciana Borio, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. Borio specializes in biodefense, emerging infectious diseases, medial product development, and complex public health emergencies.
- Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services (H.H.S.). Notably, Bright was the Trump administration's vaccine expert who had raised concerns over the administration's response to the pandemic and apparent nepotism within the H.H.S. Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, chair of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health.
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health. Emanuel has also served as advisor for health policy to the director of the White Hose Office of Management and Budget.
- Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery and health policy at Harvard University. Gawande also served as a senior advisor in the H.H.S. during the Clinton Administration.
- Dr. Eric Goosby, an internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases. Goosby was the interim Director of the White House's Office of National AIDS policy, and would later serve as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
- Dr. Celine Gounder, clinical assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Gounder has served as Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Dr. Julie Morita, former health commissioner for the City of Chicago. Morita has also served on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
- Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He has formerly worked in the Minnesota Department of Health, with the majority of his tenure spent at the state's epidemiologist.
- Loyce Pace, executive director and president of Global Health Council. Pace advocates of policies that aid access to essential medicines and health services worldwide.
- Dr. Robert Rodriguez, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine. Rodriguez has authored over 100 scientific publications examining a range of topics in medicine, including the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of frontline workers.
In addition to assembling a team of infectious disease experts, Biden's "Beat COVID-19" plan calls for a national, scientific evidence-based guidance that gives communities the tools they need to reopen safely and prevent future outbreaks.
Notable highlights from Biden's coronavirus plan include substantial investments into vaccine distribution, testing and the creation of a public health workforce that will conduct contact tracing programs. Biden's plan also outlines an initiative to fix the personal protective equipment situation that has been an ongoing problem health care system and issue a nationwide mask mandate.
Biden will not be sworn into office until January 20, when many health experts are bracing for the nation to be in a complex and harrowing situation if current outbreak trends continue unabated. Biden will also be at the helm for the majority of early vaccine distribution if frontrunners are able to delivery a safe and effective vaccine on their established timelines.