Joe Biden Will Appoint a COVID-19 ‘Coordinator’ to Combat Pandemic While Cases Continue Rising
“Our work begins with getting COVID under control,” President-elect Joe Biden said in his victory speech this month
President-elect Joe Biden will appoint a COVID-19 coordinator with “direct access” to the president, his incoming chief of staff said during an interview Thursday.
Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, was the Ebola response coordinator under President Barack Obama in 2014.
Klain, 59, told MSNBC the president-elect plans to appoint a pandemic coordinator, as the novel coronavirus pandemic has shattered troubling records around the country this week.
The New York Times reported that “six of the last nine days have set records” for cases in the U.S., with the country surpassing 160,000 cases on Thursday alone.
In all, at least 242,861 people in the U.S. have died from the novel virus while more than 10.6 million have contracted the virus that causes it, according to a Times tracker.
Klain said Biden, 77, had “met with his COVID-19 task force Monday” and added the president-elect spoke with Democratic leadership in Congress about passing a relief bill to help quell 2020’s economic downturn.
“Our work begins with getting COVID under control,” Biden said in his victory speech this month. “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments — hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us — until we get this virus under control.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has infrequently mentioned the pandemic as he continues to stew in his election loss, peddling baseless claims about voter fraud.
Trump, 74, was scheduled to participate in a COVID-19 meeting at the White House on Friday. According to CBS News, it was the first pandemic meeting the president has attended in months.
“I fear the next three months ahead could be the worst we’ve faced during the pandemic,” Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University, told the Associated Press. “America is like a ship at storm, and the captain has decided to go play golf.”
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.