Addressing the deep inequalities exposed by COVID-19 will probably prove more elusive than treating the disease.

AuthorShure, Natalie
PositionVaccinate This!

After a year of unfathomable bungling on COVID-19 from President Donald Trump and most everyone around him, the Biden Administration's promise of a competent response to the pandemic is an undeniable relief. Trump's mishandling of a crisis that has killed, as of press time, more than 400,000 people in the United States included feuding with experts, launching global wild goose chases after quack cures, sowing chaos with regard to messaging and coordination efforts, and modeling risky health behaviors.

Biden, instead, has assembled a competent coronavirus task force composed of medical and scientific professionals who, he's assured the nation, he'll actually be listening to.

The Trump Administration's embrace of scientifically discredited strategies like unmitigated "herd immunity" and inconsistent directives on measures like mask-wearing and school closures has been answered by Biden's thoughtful 100-day plan, which includes amped-up testing programs to facilitate safe school reopenings, an executive order requiring masks on interstate transit, and a large-scale rollout of vaccine doses to be distributed by local communities.

This transition of power is especially reassuring considering the emergence of a more infectious strain of the virus, which stands to drive up caseloads in the coming months if not checked by effective and coordinated mitigation measures-something that Trump and his allies could hardly have been worse at spearheading.

Biden's COVID-19 Task Force is co-chaired by David Kessler, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner who helped introduce the ubiquitous "nutrition facts" labeling system; Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of medicine and epidemiology and associate dean for health equity research at Yale School of Medicine; and Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. Surgeon General who zeroed in on issues like overprescription of opiates and e-cigarette use among teens while serving in the Obama Administration.

Other task force members include Rick Bright, the nation's former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who filed a whistleblower complaint about the Trump Administration's coronavirus response; Zeke Emanuel, a former Obama Administration health policy adviser who helped design the Affordable Care Act; Atul Gawande, a writer, author, surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and professor at Harvard School of Public Health; Julie Morita, a former Chicago public health commissioner and advocate for equity issues; Jane Hopkins, a Seattle nurse and union activist with...

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