Biden rolls out members of science team

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to ‘tarnish’ administration’s accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump’s bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico’s handling of energy permits MORE will roll out members of his science team Saturday as he looks to fill his administration and tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden will introduce Eric Lander, his nominee for director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and a presidential science advisor-designate; Alondra Nelson, his pick for OSTP deputy director for science and society; and Francis Arnold and Maria Zuber, his picks for co-chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Biden has also said he will keep Francis Collins, the current director of the National Institute of Health, on in his current role.

“This deeply respected group of diverse and eminently qualified scientists will marshal the force of science to drive meaningful progress in the lives of people. They will help the Biden-Harris administration confront some of the biggest crises and challenges of our time, from climate change and the impact of technology on society to pandemics, racial inequity and the current historic economic downturn,” the Biden transition team said in a press release.

The rollout comes as Biden unveils his plan to blunt the spread of COVID-19 and address the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Biden on Friday detailed a $20 billion vaccination effort that would bolster the size of the federal government’s response and is part of a broader, $415 billion plan focused on combating the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Truthfully, we remain in a very dark winter,” Biden said Friday, noting the country is rapidly approaching 400,000 deaths. “The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far.” 

Biden has vowed to administer 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days and use federal resources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to launch new mass vaccination sites. The administration also plans to expand state and local immunization efforts across the country, including in pharmacies and community health centers. 

In total, Biden plans to dole out $1.9 trillion to support coronavirus vaccination efforts, help reopen schools, deliver critical aid to workers and small businesses, tackle the hunger crisis and send funding to state and local governments. 

Biden’s science team has deep experience in various fields. Landler, for instance, is a leading researcher into mapping the human genome, and Arnold won the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

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