Biden to appoint team of experts to new coronavirus task force

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Joe Biden is to name a coronavirus task force on Monday as he follows through on a promise to make tackling the pandemic the top priority of his presidency.

The 12-person panel will include scientists and experts that will help the President-Elect devise a strategy to lift the US out of a health crisis that has so far killed more then 238,000 people.

At his victory party on Saturday night, Biden said the plan would be “built on bedrock science” and “constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern”.

It is to include investments in protective equipment and loans for small businesses, as well as more standardised public health guidelines. The proposals would become a policy “blueprint” to be put into action following his inauguration on 20 January, 2021.

Biden made President Donald Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic a central focus of his campaign, saying “our work begins with getting Covid under control”. He said Americans could not "repair the economy or relish life’s most precious moments” with the shadow of fatal infection hanging over them.

Lost confidence

In the run-up to the elections, the US public was steadily losing confidence in Trump’s handling of the virus. A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after Trump’s infection and brief hospitalisation found 59 percent of Americans disapproved of his response.

Trump repeatedly dismissed the severity of the pandemic, saying the virus would disappear on its own. He chided Democrat rival Biden for wearing a protective mask.

(With Agencies)