US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced his picks for the incoming government’s health team that will lead the country’s coronavirus response.
Biden named California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Rochelle Walensky as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — securing his post, and Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.
Becerra, 62, is known for his legal challenges against outgoing President Donald Trump’s administration on immigration, health care and environmental issues.
If approved by Senate, his appointment will mark the second Latino chosen for a high-profile Cabinet position by Biden, following Alejandro Mayorkas’ selection as secretary of Homeland Security.
Walensky is currently the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, while Fauci is one of the key figures in Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force.
Murthy was also picked by Biden to return to his previous role, surgeon general, that he served between 2014 and 2017. His appointment requires Senate approval.
“This trusted and accomplished team of leaders will bring the highest level of integrity, scientific rigor, and crisis-management experience to one of the toughest challenges America has ever faced — getting the pandemic under control so that the American people can get back to work, back to their lives, and back to their loved ones,” Biden said in a statement.
“This team of world-class medical experts and public servants will be ready on day one to mobilize every resource of the federal government to expand testing and masking, oversee the safe, equitable, and free distribution of treatments and vaccines, re-open schools and businesses safely, lower prescription drug and other health costs and expand affordable health care to all Americans, and rally the country and restore the belief that there is nothing beyond America’s capacity if we do it together,” he added.
As more than 14.7 million cases and over 282,300 deaths have been recorded, the top health officials will be the new guiders against the pandemic and the vaccine process.
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