US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday said that the goal of his administration would be to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives from the deadly virus.
"We cannot forego the important work that needs to be done between now and then to get our country through the worst wave yet of this pandemic. To reduce spread. To save lives," Biden said after major media networks declared him winner of the November 3 presidential elections.
Early on Monday morning, Biden announced the formation of a COVID-19 advisory board. Comprising of a panel of eminent experts, it is co-chaired by Indian-American Dr Vivek Murthy, Dr David Kessler and Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Following a meeting with the group, Biden said that he has named COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board, comprising distinguished public health experts, to help the transition team translate the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan into an action blueprint that they can put into place on January 20, when he is sworn in as the president of the United States.
"This group will advise on detailed plans built on a bedrock of science, and that keep compassion, empathy and care for every American at its core: Making rapid testing widely available, and building a corps of contact tracers who will track and curb this disease while we prioritise getting vaccinations first to the most at risk populations.
"Developing clear and detailed guidance and providing the necessary resources for small businesses, schools, and child-care centers to reopen and operate safely and effectively during the pandemic - protecting both workers and the public," Biden said.
Biden said that the work of his administration, which is in transition yet, begins by doing everything possible to get COVID-19 under control so that to reopen businesses safely and sustainably, resume lives and put this pandemic behind.
"We've just received positive news in this fight with the announcement of progress toward a successful vaccine candidate. Soon, the FDA will run a process of rigorous reviews and approvals," he said, adding that the process must also be grounded in science and fully transparent, so that the American people can have confidence that any approved vaccine is safe and effective.
"At the same time, it's clear that this vaccine, even if it is approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come. The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing, and so is the need for bold action to fight this pandemic. We are still facing a dark winter. There are now nearly 10 million COVID-19 cases in the United States," he said.
"Last week - we topped 120,000 new cases on multiple days. Infection rates are going up. Hospitalisations are going up. Deaths are going up. This crisis claims nearly a thousand American lives a day, nearly 240,000 deaths so far. And projections still indicate we could lose 200,000 more lives in the coming months before a vaccine can be made available to everyone," Biden said.
The Biden-Harris Transition team has announced a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19. This includes, ensuring all Americans have access to regular, reliable, and free testing; fix personal protective equipment (PPE) problems for good, and provide clear, consistent, evidence-based guidance for how communities should navigate the pandemic - and the resources for schools, small businesses and families to make it through.
It also calls plan for the effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines - because development isn't enough if they aren't effectively distributed, protect older Americans and others at high risk, rebuild and expand defences to predict, prevent, and mitigate pandemic threats, including those coming from China and implement mask mandates nationwide by working with governors and mayors and by asking the American people to do what they do best: step up in a time of crisis.