WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden introduced his picks for top health positions in his administration Tuesday, and listed three goals his administration will take to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in his first 100 days.
The first of those goals has already been widely reported — Biden says he will ask American to "mask up" for the first 100 days of his administration. He said Tuesday that he will enact mask mandates where he can, like on federal property or on airplanes and other inter-state travel. But he said he's asking the rest of the country to join him in wearing masks even where they are not mandated.
Biden also said Tuesday that he hopes to administer 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days. In order to aid his administration in his goal, he says he hopes Congress can pass additional funding that would assist in distribution.
Finally, Biden said he hopes to get as many children back into schools for in-person learning as he can within his first 100 days.
Biden ended his remarks by reminding Americans that while a vaccine is coming, there are a few difficult months ahead.
"It's daunting, but I promise we will make progress starting on Day 1 ... we can beat this," Biden said.
The health care team assembled by President-elect Joe Biden points to stronger federal management of the nation's COVID-19 response, a leading role for science and an emphasis on fair and equitable distribution of vaccines and treatments.
With Monday's announcement of his health secretary and a half dozen other key officials Biden is aiming to leave behind the personal dramas that erupted under President Donald Trump. He hopes to return the federal response to a more methodical approach focused on achieving results by applying scientific knowledge in a transparent and disciplined manner.
But Biden doesn't yet have a tested team — just players drafted for key positions. According to the Associated Press, only a few had previously been with Biden's coronavirus advisory board, but the president-elect will need new members to hit the ground running.
While Trump has mostly delegated virus response to states, Biden's selection of businessman Jeff Zients signals a stronger federal response in the next administration. Among Zients past credits includes his rescue of the HealthCare.gov website, which had faltered shortly after launching in 2013.
Biden also signaled a heavy reliance on scientific experts, particularly with his pick of infectious disease expert Dr. Rochelle Walensky to lead the CDC and the return of Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General. He's also asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to join his administration as a medical adviser while still stating in his role as the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
Finally, Biden announced Tuesday he's creating a COVID-19 Equity Task Force that will work to correct racial and wealth disparities exploited by the pandemic. Leading that panel is Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale.