WASHINGTON — U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), multiple media networks reported on Sunday.
Biden is expected to make the announcement in coming days, along with choices for other key health posts, including head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Becerra, 62, has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for more than two decades before beginning serving as attorney general of California in 2017.
The Latino succeeded Kamala Harris, now the vice president-elect, to lead the country’s largest state justice department after she was elected to the U.S. Senate. If confirmed, Becerra would become a key official in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as the HHS will be responsible for overseeing the distribution of vaccines in the coming months.
Anthony Fauci, a top U.S. infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that he will be Biden’s chief medical adviser. According to Biden, addressing the pandemic, which has infected more than 14.7 million people and taken some 282,000 lives in the United States, will be a priority for his administration.
The Democrat has said he will urge Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days after taking office. “This pandemic is ravaging the country,” Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, an initiative launched by the Donald Trump administration to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, told CNN in an interview on Sunday.”We all need to take our precaution, wear our masks, wash our hands, keep our distance, remain aware that this virus is a killer,” Slaoui noted.