Biden adds more members to COVID-19 advisory board

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden makes a zero with his hand as he delivers remarks at an aluminum manufacturing facility in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on September 21, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden announced the newest members to his COVID-19 advisory board Saturday. The board will help plan and implement procedures to help contain the coronavirus under his administration.

The latest hires included Jane Hopkins, a nurse in England; Dr. Jill Jim, the executive director at the Navajo Nation Department of Health; and Dr. David Michaels, an epidemiologist from George Washington University.

“As COVID-19 surges across the country, I need a team advising me and a transition that offers diverse perspectives and viewpoints. Ms. Hopkins, Dr. Jim, and Dr. Michaels will strengthen the board’s work and help ensure that our COVID-19 planning will address inequities in health outcomes and the workforce,” Biden said in a news release.

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The board is chaired by Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.

This announcement comes as Biden has signaled strongly that fighting the raging pandemic will be the immediate priority of his new administration as the nation surpassed 13 million COVID-19 cases on Friday.

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Biden’s announcement also came as the country inches closer to approving its first vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to hold a public hearing early next month on Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s experimental drug, which the companies claim is 95% effective in preventing the virus. If the FDA approves emergency use authorization, the companies said the first batches will rollout within days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.