Biden Vows Healing and Action on COVID Pandemic


Among Biden’s key climate nominees are U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NM, as secretary of the interior and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as secretary of energy.

Biden has already announced several nominees to key health agencies, including Xavier Becerra, attorney general of California since 2017, as secretary of health and human services, and Rachel Levine, MD, a transgender woman, to be assistant secretary for health. Levine, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first openly transgender federal official in a Senate-confirmed role.

Vivek Murthy, MD, who was surgeon general under President Barack Obama, will fill the same position for Biden, and Rochelle Walensky, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, will serve as CDC director. Anthony Fauci, MD, will be Biden’s chief medical adviser on the pandemic.

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, MD, has been asked to head up Operation Warp Speed to get the population vaccinated against COVID-19.

Biden’s team will not just focus on the pandemic. Addressing cancer will be a key priority for Biden and Harris — a political and personal issue for both. It’s expected to be a signature issue for the incoming first lady, Jill Biden. Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer at age 46, in 2015. Joe Biden headed the Cancer Moonshot, a national effort to end cancer, when he was vice president under Obama.

Biden’s efforts in cancer research and treatment drew appreciation from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

In a statement, she says: “President-Elect Biden — like many Americans — has a deep personal connection to cancer that spurs his strong commitment to biomedical research. Specifically, the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which he spearheaded, continues to be an incredible source of opportunity and new discovery for cancer researchers across the country. With an estimated 1.9 million people expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, the need to work with President-elect Biden and his administration to see what we can do together to accelerate the pace, progress and equitable access to cancer research and innovations is urgent.”


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