Jeffrey Zients expected to be named Biden’s coronavirus coordinator

Zients, a top economic adviser under President Barack Obama and a co-chair of Biden’s transition team, was widely expected to get this appointment.

The announcement is expected to be formally made in the coming days.

Containing the coronavirus pandemic, mass distributing an approved vaccine and rebuilding a battered economy will be Biden’s most pressing priorities when he takes office in January.

On Wednesday, the US reported its highest one-day coronavirus death tally, with more than 2,800 Covid-19 deaths reported. The number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals Wednesday also is the highest reported on a given day during the pandemic — 100,226, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Zients in 2009 was confirmed by the US Senate to serve as the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, and later served as acting director. In 2013, Zients was tapped by the Obama administration to provide advice to the US Department of Health and Human Services as it worked to resolve the problems with the Obamacare enrollment website, Healthcare.gov.

Biden has criticized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, which has killed more than 274,000 Americans as of Thursday afternoon. The President-elect has stressed that unlike President Donald Trump, he would listen to and follow the advice of scientists and experts.

The President-elect’s first major announcement after being projected the winner of the election last month was to announce a coronavirus advisory board to guide him during the transition.

The task force is chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. Among the other members are Dr. Luciana Borio, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act and an ex-Obama health adviser.

This story has been updated with additional information about Zients and the coronavirus pandemic.

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