COVID-19 advisory board members speak on Biden-Harris priorities

Posted at 5:10 PM, Jan 14, 2021

BALTIMORE — With the Inauguration just days away, President Elect Joe Biden is getting ready to take office during a very difficult time.

The country is divided, hundreds of thousands are dying for COVID-19 and the vaccine distribution effort has been called chaotic.

Biden is set to talk Thursday evening about his vaccination plan and economic relief package in response to the pandemic.

Ahead of his address, Johns Hopkins hosted a webcast with some of the administrations COVID-19 Advisory Board members to discuss priorities and challenges in their efforts to stem the pandemic.

"From vaccines to therapeutics to diagnostics to other public health recommendations, everything is going to be informed by science," said Celine Gounder, a member of the board.

With an emphasis on science-based decisions, the board has been tasked with giving recommendations to stop the spread and build up public health infrastructure.

"Recognizing how taxed our clinics and communities have really been as a result of COVID-19," said Loyce Pace, a board member.

The Biden-Harris Administration also wants to accelerate vaccine distribution by making it easier to understand and execute; targeting everyone over 65 years old. Biden is aiming for 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days.

"We’re not gonna be holding back second doses. We are gonna be releasing nearly all with a small buffer left over," said Gounder.

Board members said the administration is also focused on a stimulus and reopening the country safely.

"To ensure that the American economy and schools and businesses can still get up and running again but not putting anyone at undue risk of COVID- 19," said Pace.

The administration has also created an Equity Task Force to focus on communities hardest hit by COVID-19 to address disparities and concerns.

Biden is set to speak at 7:15.