The Biden-Harris campaign will chug ahead with its promise to "Build Back Better," a confusing tagline that I always say in the wrong order. (Build Better Back? Better Build Back?) Over the weekend, the team added more details to its newly launched transition website—BuildBackBetter.com—and this morning, Biden-Harris formally announced their 13-member COVID-19 task force. It even includes Rick Bright, the Trump administration whistleblower who gave us the "darkest winter" comments, which continue to haunt our dreams. Real doctors and physicians make up the entire group, a change from Trump's Hucksters Only approach. Here's what we know:
The task force divides between a ten-person advisory board and three co-chairs. Former U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration David Kessler, and Yale physician and professor Marcella Nunez-Smith will co-chair the task force. President George H.W. Bush initially appointed Kessler, who also served for President Clinton. Murthy was appointed U.S. surgeon general by Obama in 2014. Nunez-Smith is a health equity expert. As I mentioned, Rick Bright is on the team. He was the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority's former head and is one of the ten advisory board members on the President-Elect's team. For funziez, here are his comments from May: The other nine board members include Luciana Borio, director for medical and biodefense preparedness on Trump’s National Security Council until last year; Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania; surgeon, professor, and author Atul Gawande; Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota; Obama's global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby; NYU professor of medicine and infectious diseases Celine R. Gounder; Julie Morita, the VP of a health philanthropy; Loyce Pace, the president of the Global Health Council; and professor of emergency medicine Robert Rodriguez.
Biden will enter the office facing—get ready for 2020's favorite word—unprecedented challenges, especially regarding the uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic. The country now averages more than 100,000 coronavirus infections a day, and deaths are slowly increasing.
The Biden-Harris team has outlined seven priorities for its COVID-19 response, which is available to read on its transition website. Significantly, Biden-Harris want to:
Create a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps to employ at least 100,000 people to do things like contact tracing, Double the number of drive-through testing sites, Invest in at-home and instant testing, "Fully use" the Defense Production Act to create more PPE, and Implement mask mandates nationwide.
The mask mandates will prove tricky in states with science-hating Republican governors. (You've made your bed, now lie in it, Iowans.)
On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested that the country could experience "a different tone" on the COVID-19 response now that voters handed Trump his ass.
"I think you'll even see some governors start to take a different tone now that Mr. Trump is out of office," Cuomo said on ABC's This Week Sunday. "I think the political pressure of denying COVID is gone."
We'll see about that, Andrew. Fox's homepage was already capitalizing on Biden's plan for mask mandates:
Leading Republicans still claim Trump has a path to victory. Trump would need to win every remaining state and somehow manage to reverse-flip a flipped state in the upper midwest. That's a fantasy, but Trump is happy to live in that fantasy. The 45th president spent Sunday night retweeting videos that supported his "Mail-In Ballot Hoax" conspiracy theory.