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Biden and Harris get virus task force briefing

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are being briefed virtually on the coronavirus pandemic by a task force of experts their transition team announced only hours earlier.

Posted: Nov 9, 2020 8:51 AM

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are being briefed virtually on the coronavirus pandemic by a task force of experts their transition team announced only hours earlier.

The Democratic president-elect and vice president-elect sat at separate, individual socially distanced tables and took notes as the members introduced themselves on Monday.

Biden is also planning to give a speech on his planned response to the pandemic. Then Biden and Harris will hold hours of internal meetings about transitioning to the White House in January.

The task force briefing was at the Queen, a theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden’s campaign built a studio and other communications infrastructure and has spent months organizing virtual meetings and speeches.

The first to speak during the briefing was former Food Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler. He is co-chairing the task force with former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University associated professor and associate dean whose research focuses on promoting health care equality for marginalized populations.

Also part of the group is Rick Bright, a whistleblower who was demoted after criticizing the Trump administration’s pandemic response. Bright had been head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Journalists could watch only about two minutes of the proceedings and heard only the participants introducing themselves.

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7:25 a.m.

President-elect Joe Biden has announced the members of his coronavirus task force, which will put together a blueprint for fighting the pandemic.

The co-chairs are former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Food Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University professor and researcher.

Notable among the task force members is Rick Bright, a vaccine expert and former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Bright filed a whistleblower complaint alleging he was reassigned to a lesser job because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug pushed by President Donald Trump as a COVID-19 treatment.

Other members include Luciana Borio, a biodefense specialist; Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and bioethics chair at the National Institutes of Health; Dr. Atul Gawande, a Clinton administration health advisor and surgery expert; Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert who has studied HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; Dr. Julie Morita, a pediatric and immunization specialist; Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert and epidemiologist; Loyce Pace, a global health specialist; Dr. Robert Rodriguez, an emergency medicine expert who has researched mental health of COVID-19 responders; and Dr. Eric Goosby, an infectious disease expert who has worked in AIDS/HIV.

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