Indian-origin Murthy to lead Biden Covid panel

New Delhi: While several Indian-Americans, such as Richard Verma, Nisha Biswal, Sonal Shah and Seema Sadanandan, might figure in the new Biden administration to be announced around November 26, an American of the Indian origin will play a prominent role right away in the President-elect’s first initiative after beating Donald Trump.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is tipped to co-lead a 12-member group that will join battle with the raging Covid epidemic in the US that is registering over one lakh positive cases every day.

The “Covid-19 task force” will also be co-led by former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Yale University professor Marcella Nunez-Smith.

Murthy, a registered Democrat, was the Surgeon General of the United States from 2014 – 2017. Biden was receiving briefings for months from health experts, including Murthy and Kessler, a former FDA commissioner. Other experts who have briefed Biden include Celine Gounder of New York University and Yale’s Marcella Nunez-Smith, according to US media reports.

“On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to help take the Biden-Harris Covid plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will start on January 20. The plan will be built on bedrock science,’’ Biden said in his first President-elect speech on Saturday night. The Biden taskforce could start holding public briefings from next week till the Inauguration Day on January 20.

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