Alex Menendez / AP Image for Lake Nona Impact Forum
Update at 9am ET
President-elect Joe Biden appointed 13 health professionals to his COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board on Monday, aiming to advance his plans despite uncertainties about the government’s level of cooperation. Trump amid persistent legal challenge to election results. Coronavirus has spread at an alarming rate in the US in recent weeks.
The council will be co-chaired by three people: former Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David Kessler of the University of California San Francisco, former surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale.
“Advisory boards will help shape my approach to managing the proliferation of reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective and distributed effectively, fairly and free of charge; and protect at-risk populations, “Biden said in a statement released early Monday morning.
Biden has made COVID-19 a central part of his campaign, calling for a stronger and more coordinated federal response to the pandemic even as President Trump downplayed the virus and criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist.
Nearly 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus and infections in recent days have set a new record, topping 100,000 per day. Nearly 238,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since January.
“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face and I will be informed by science and experts,” Biden said in the statement. “Advisory boards will help shape my approach to managing the increase in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective and distributed effectively, fairly and free of charge; and protect at-risk populations. “
The advisory board will be working on pandemic control planning – a process Biden says will begin shortly after his January 20 inauguration.
The team includes some who have served in senior public health positions in the federal government. The lists include Dr. Rick Bright, who was dismissed as head of the government’s top research agency, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development, or BARDA, earlier this year, after his criticism. the federal government’s pandemic response.
Also on the advisory board were Luciana Borio, a microbiology and disease expert who used to work for the National Security Council, and Eric Goosby, President Obama’s global AIDS coordinator.
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Monday that an experimental vaccine it is working on has been shown to be 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. Biden, in a statement on Monday, separate from the advisory board’s statement, expressed cautious optimism about the development.
“Americans will have to rely on face masks, foresight, contact monitoring, hand washing and other measures to keep themselves safe next year,” he said. “Today’s news is great news, but it doesn’t change that fact.”
“That is realistic for now, and for the next few months,” said the president-elect. “Today’s announcement promises an opportunity to change that next year, but the missions ahead of us are the same now.”
Although the vaccine still needs FDA approval and faces other regulatory hurdles, Pfizer said it expects to have 50 million doses of the new vaccine by the end of 2020, enough for 25 million. people. By 2021, the company plans to produce 1.3 billion doses.
Murthy, a chief consultant for the Biden campaign, recently told the NPR that the Biden administration will have “a laser focus on making sure everyone is … well-checked and well informed.”
“We have to act as a nation,” said Murthy. That means there must be a national plan.
On Friday night, Biden said, “I want everyone – everyone – to know that on Day 1, we will have a plan to control this virus.”