Biden Taps Three Senior Officials To Facilitate COVID-19 Response
President-elect Joe Biden is leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to put a lid on the still-raging coronavirus pandemic. As part of these efforts, he will be expanding his White House COVID-19 Response team, picking three senior officials who will be coordinating supply chain strategy, along with vaccine and testing.
An announcement originally shared with POLITICO suggests the three officials are expected to play a vital role in Biden's response to the pandemic, which he has made his top priority before taking office next month. About 20 million Americans have contracted the deadly virus, which has claimed more than 336,000 lives across the country.
The president-elect on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration for its slow pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. He predicted that things are likely to get worse before getting better, referring to the pandemic.
During his remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, the Democrat noted that the next few weeks and months would be extremely tough for the United States, Live Mint reported. He went on to say that the nation could be in for what may turn out to be the toughest few months during this entire pandemic.
Biden has tapped Kaiser Permanente executive Bechara Choucair to be America's vaccine coordinator. A family physician and former Chicago public health commissioner, Choucair has specialized in improving health care access as Kaiser Permanente's chief health officer, which is the nation's largest integrated health care delivery system.
Choucair will serve as Biden's spokesperson in terms of speeding vaccine delivery and coordinating with local and state officials. Biden and his team have credited the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed, which alludes to its efforts to expedite vaccine development but criticized the pace of rolling out shots, which has fallen behind the previously promised goals of 20 million by the end of this year.
According to the CDC, nearly 2.1 million Americans have already received their first vaccine dose. In his speech, Biden urged the president to encourage the American public to follow basic guidelines such as wearing masks.
Biden said that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Hariss have received the vaccine, and Trump should do the same publicly. He said when Trump's doctors recommend it, the president should take the vaccine to instill the same level of confidence.
As part of his plan during his first 100 days as president, Biden will be aiming to distribute 100 million vaccine shots, urge the American public to wear masks, and even open K-8 schools. He also said that Congress would need to provide more funding so that he can meet some of his goals for restricting the spread of the coronavirus.