Joe Biden, the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, unveiled his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday as President Trump and his campaign continue to unveil lawsuits and demand recounts in swing states. President Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, which was led by Vice President Pence, made household names out of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
Biden’s advisory panel, he said, will be co-chaired by 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.
“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,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”
The other members of the advisory board include one name you may recognize, Dr. Rick Bright. Bright was a whistleblower in the Trump administration who claimed that the White House had ignored his warning signs about the pandemic. In his testimony before the Subcommittee on Health for the House Committee on Energy in May, Bright argued that President Trump’s insistence that hydroxychloroquine was a potential treatment for the coronavirus distracted him from working on other areas to combat the virus.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar pushed back on the whistleblower doctor’s complaints.
“Everything he’s complaining about was achieved,” Azar said at the time. “Everything he talked about was done. He says he talked about the need for respirators. We procured respirators under the President’s direction. He said we need a Manhattan Project for vaccines. This President initiates a vaccine Manhattan Project, diagnostic Manhattan Project, therapeutic Manhattan Project. Oh, and, by the way, whose job was that you actually lead the development of vaccines? Dr. Bright’s. So, while we are launching ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ he’s not showing up for work to be part of that.”
On Monday it was revealed that the potential vaccine developed by Pfizer is 90 percent effective. President Trump celebrated the news with all caps locks on Twitter. But Biden decided to act with caution. He called the report “cause for hope,” but said, “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”