Biden-Harris Transition Covid Task Force Announced

President-elect Biden made clear during the campaign that he will "follow the science" in tackling the number one priority of his administration—gaining control of the coronavirus. The 13-member task force with three co-chairs was announced Monday.

November 11, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid


Biden administration

Christos S / Shutterstock

"As the number of infected Americans passed 10 million and governors struggled to manage the pandemic, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. tried on Monday to use his bully pulpit — the only tool at his disposal until he replaces President Trump in 72 days — to plead for Americans to set aside the bitterness of the 2020 election and wear a mask," reported White House correspondent Michael D. Shear for The New York Times on Nov. 9. 

“It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day,” Mr. Biden said in Delaware after announcing a Covid-19 advisory board charged with preparing for quick action once he is inaugurated...“We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democratic or Republican lives — American lives.”

Shear reports on escalating cases of coronavirus throughout the country. The main concern is the increase in COVID hospitalizations that threatens to overwhelm the country's healthcare infrastructure, thus placing anyone that seeks medical attention in jeopardy.

"Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States hit an all-time high of 61,964 on Tuesday [tallied by the Covid Tracking Project], and new daily cases passed 135,000 for the first time, as the raging pandemic continued to shatter record after record and strain medical facilities," notes the Times Covid-19 Live Updates on Nov 10.

"At Mr. Biden’s closed-door briefing with his Covid advisory board, which took place remotely over a video conference call on Monday, three leaders of the panel provided updates on the pandemic while others members of the group introduced themselves, according to a person familiar with the discussion," adds Shear.

Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board members

Vaccine announced

Not all coronavirus news is grim. The drug maker Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial showed that it is 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, reports the Times.

Independent scientists have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected. And no one knows how long the vaccine’s protection might last. Still, the development makes Pfizer the first company to announce positive results from a late-stage vaccine trial, vaulting it to the front of a frenzied global race that began in January and has unfolded at record-breaking speed.

President-elect Biden congratulated Pfizer on their accomplishment but warned that "it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country."

"Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year. Today’s news is great news, but it doesn’t change that fact."

Related in Planetizen:

Monday, November 9, 2020 in The New York Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

A pair of crash test dummies in a car after a crash with air bags deployed.

Acceptable Deaths

What can we learn from our Covid response?

May 5, 2022 - Angie Schmitt

Washington D.C.

Fare-Free Transit Hasn’t Reduced Car Trips, Data Says

Fare-free transit isn’t the climate change benefit that many have hoped, according to recent writing by David Zipper for Bloomberg.

38 minutes ago - Bloomberg

Cottages on Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

Redevelopment Threatens Iconic, Affordable Chicago Homes

The ‘workers’ cottages’ are being replaced with larger, more expensive homes, threatening one of the city’s original forms of affordable housing.

1 hour ago - WTTW

Washington, D.C.

Six-Story Parking Lot Nixed From D.C. Union Station Renovation Plans

The Federal Railroad Administration has removed a six-story parking facility included in a 2020 draft Environmental Impact Statement for a $10 billion renovation of Union Station in Washington, D.C.

2 hours ago - The Washington Post

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.