President-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce on Monday the members of his coronavirus task force, which will be tasked with developing a record-breaking plan to contain the coronavirus spread.
The task force is led by former General Surgeon Vivek Murthy, former Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration David Kessler and Dr. Yale University's Marcella Nunez-Smith co-directed, a Biden campaign official told NBC. Axios first reported on the announcement.
In his first speech as President-elect, Biden confirmed that he will announce "a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors" to help implement his pandemic response plan.
"Our work begins with bringing Covid under control," he said on Saturday evening. "This plan will be built on a foundation of science. It will be built of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort – or commitment – to reverse this pandemic."
The announcement, which will come before the president-elect has named any of his White House officers or cabinet appointments, shows the importance of the pandemic's response to Biden.
Biden won't take office until Jan. 20, when epidemiologists and medical experts say the country could be in dire straits with the pandemic if current trends continue. On the day NBC News predicted Biden would win the election, the U.S. reported its third straight record of new coronavirus cases every day, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Average daily new cases are increasing by at least 5% in 47 states and the District of Columbia, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data.
Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner, said Biden will have his work cut out for him when he takes office in January. However, she added that even before he officially takes office, he can promote compliance with public health measures.
"His work must start immediately. He must start communicating the urgency of action to the American people," she said in a telephone interview. “His greatest challenge will be getting people to follow his recommendations. He may have the best guidelines, and even the best way to implement his guidelines, but if you can't win the hearts and minds of the American people, then he will it doesn't work. " a difference."
Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, said if the country continues on its current path, the US could suffer more than half a million Covid-19 deaths before Biden takes office.
"It's going to be a lot worse this winter," she said. "We are on the rise across the country. There are Covid-19 firestorms that we see in virtually all parts of the country and it is getting worse day by day."
Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency doctor at Brown University, echoed Wen's concerns over the coming months.
"The worst days of the pandemic are almost certainly ahead of us," she said. "This virus is now spread across the United States. When the first surge occurred it was localized in northeast New England, New York, New Jersey. In the second wave, it was the south and southwest. But now we're & # 39; I literally see it as taking over hospitals across the country. "
She added that a Biden presidency gives her hope for a nationally coordinated response to the pandemic, but by Jan. 20, "It's like we're alone."
Ranney added that some of her "colleagues and friends" whom she did not want to be named are on Biden's coronavirus task force and will help him "take the first step" on day one when he takes office.
"But the problem is, even if you hit the bottom on the first day, it will take two months to make adequate PPE," she said. "Even if he says on the first day, 'I'm going to create a mask mandate,' it will take a while to get that out and get the news out."