U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks to reporters about efforts to confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic after meeting with members of his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


President-elect Joe Biden named the 13 members of his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday. The group will be co-chaired by three people: former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner 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. The team also includes Rick Bright, a whistleblower from the Trump administration who alleged that his early warnings about the pandemic were ignored and ultimately led to his removal. 

Biden said in a statement that the board will help shape his administration’s approach to managing the pandemic. He also asked the public to continue wearing masks to stem the spread of the coronavirus. “It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day. It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view, we can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months,” Biden said.

Biden’s coronavirus plan calls for a stronger, more coordinated federal response to the coronavirus, as well as collaboration with the World Health Organization. The WHO said it welcomes efforts to reform the Geneva-based body and is looking forward to working closely with the Biden administration.

The announcement of Biden’s coronavirus advisory board comes amid President Donald Trump’s continued refusal to concede the election while pursuing legal challenges in battleground states. Biden’s campaign is urging the head of the General Services Administration to approve the beginning stages of an official transfer of power. A GSA spokesperson said Administrator Emily Murphy is waiting to determine that “a winner is clear.”

The Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit on Tuesday regarding the Affordable Care Act. The case takes up whether the act was made unconstitutional when Congress eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance. This is the third major challenge to the Affordable Care Act heard by the Supreme Court.


Biden Announces COVID Team, Including Vaccines Specialist Ousted by Trump – Truthout – 11/9/2020
On the task force will be Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), who claims he was forced out of his position and demoted due to his opposition to President Donald Trump’s insistence that hydroxychloroquine be promoted as a treatment for coronavirus. Bright had argued that more research had to be conducted before making such an endorsement for the drug, and indeed, numerous studies found that while it was generally ineffective at treating the virus, it also possibly caused harm to some patients.

Joe Biden avoids reporters’ questions following remarks on coronavirus advisory board – Fox News – 11/9/2020
President-elect Joe Biden didn’t take questions from reporters after announcing his coronavirus advisory board on Monday in Wilmington, Del. “I will be a president for every American. This election is over, it’s time to put aside the partisanship and rhetoric designed to demonize one another. It’s time to end the politicization of basic public health steps like mask-wearing and social distancing,” Biden said during the remarks. “We have to come together to heal the soul of this country so we can effectively address this crisis.” 

Biden Implores Public To Wear Masks To Combat COVID: ‘Not A Political Statement’ – Talking Points Memo – 11/9/2020
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday implored the public to comply with mask-wearing following a briefing with his newly announced COVID-19 advisory council, during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware. Appearing to respond to Pfizer’s announcement earlier Monday that independently reviewed data suggest that its COVID-19 vaccine is found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing infections from the coronavirus, Biden outlined expectations for how his administration will respond to the pandemic.

Biden-Harris Transition Team Launches COVID Advisory Board – National Review – 11/9/2020
Members of the team will work with state and local officials to “determine the public health and economic steps necessary to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families, to address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities, and to reopen our schools and businesses safely and effectively.” The board is expected to recommend a seven-point plan to fight COVID-19, including increased testing, securing personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chains with the Defense Production Act, and investing in vaccines.


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