November 09, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
President-Elect Joe Biden announced the 13 members of his coronavirus taskforce Monday, signaling the incoming administration’s focus on science and medical expertise in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on a national level.
The task force will have three co-chairs who have served across various administrations and who have a background in health equity. Notably, there are three California physicians that will hold an active role on the task force, one of these physicians being David Kessler, M.D., who will serve as one of three co-chairs on the panel. Dr. Kessler is a UCSF professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics, and also a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997, serving under former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The two other California doctors on the task force are: Eric Goosby, M.D., a global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama and professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, and Robert Rodriguez, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine.
“We are entering a dangerous phase of this pandemic,” said California Medical Association (CMA) President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D. “CMA is encouraged that the incoming administration is taking the pandemic seriously and reaching out to medical experts in California and across the country to help save lives and keep Americans safe.”
Task force members will work with state and local officials to craft public health and economic policies to address the virus and racial and ethnic disparities, while also working to reopen schools and businesses, the transition team said in a news release. The task force is also rumored to have subgroups that focus on issues related to the response, including testing, vaccine distribution and personal protective equipment.
COVID-19 infection numbers have continued to climb in recent weeks, with more than 100,000 new cases daily, and on many days, more than 1,000 deaths. President-elect Biden said getting control of the pandemic will be his administration’s top priority, and made the task force his first act as president-elect.