Washington — President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday the team of public health experts and scientists who will guide him and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 Advisory Board comprises 13 doctors and scientists and will be led by Dr. David Kessler, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. surgeon general, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor at Yale University. Among the other members of the task force are Dr. Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and Dr. Atul Gawande.
Bright, a vaccine expert, was removed from his post as director of BARDA earlier this year and filed a whistleblower complaint outlining the Trump administration's missteps in handling the coronavirus. He claimed top administration officials failed to heed warnings about the virus and retaliated against him after he opposed COVID-19 treatments touted by President Trump.
"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 said in a statement announcing the panel. "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."
Coronavirus cases are rising in more than three dozen states, and the number of confirmed infections in the U.S. is approaching 10 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 237,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S.
After he was projected the winner of the White House on Saturday, Mr. Biden said one of his first actions as president-elect would be to name his own coronavirus task force to help prepare his administration to tackle the pandemic once he takes office January 20.
Mr. Biden formed a public health advisory committee in March and continued to receive briefings on the pandemic throughout the election.
The president-elect and vice president-elect are set to receive their first briefing from the new advisory board Monday morning, after which Mr. Biden is expected to deliver remarks on COVID-19.