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The COVID-19 team includes a Latina doctor born in Brazil and a Latino doctor from Texas.

On Nov. 7, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan and convert it into an action blueprint that would start on Jan. 20, 2021. 

“That plan will be built on a bedrock of science,” Biden said during his victory speech. “It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern. I will spare no effort—or commitment—to turn this pandemic around.”

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According to CNBC, the task force includes three co-chairs: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale University.

The rest of the team includes eight other doctors, two of which are Latino.  

Dr. Luciana Borio

Dr. Luciana Borio appears during a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing titled “Examining the U.S. Public Health Response to the Ebola Outbreak,” Oct. 16, 2014.
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Borio was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and into a family of Sicilian ancestry. She is the former director of the FDA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats and the former assistant commissioner for counterterrorism policy and acting chief scientist at the FDA. 

She also served on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council as a member of its pandemic response team until Trump disbanded it in 2018. 

Today, Bario is the vice president of In-Q-Tel, an independent, nonprofit, strategic investment firm, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and an adjunct assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University since 2003. 

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Bario has also coordinated the response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, led efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, and developed an executive order to modernize America’s influenza vaccines.

Dr. Robert Rodríguez

Dr. Robert Rodriguez, an emergency room doctor at San Francisco General Hospital, was a lead author on the study and a participant in front of the hospital in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, July 20, 2020. In a new study authored by Rodriguez and others, emergency room doctors across the country reported their anxiety increasing to moderate or severe levels during the first surge of the pandemic in late March and early April. Rodriguez will be traveling to Brownsville, TX, to help with COVID-19 care.
(Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Rodríguez is a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. However, more recently, he worked on the ground in his hometown of Brownsville, Texas, treating patients with COVID-19, and at hospitals in San Francisco. 

“I flew down there, and the next day I was in the ICU treating the sickest patients that I had ever seen in my career,” Rodríguez said, according to NBC News. “The doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists were working extremely hard, but they were simply overwhelmed with the number of cases. At the time, we had about five times the number of cases in the ICU there as compared to my hospital [in San Francisco], which was a much bigger hospital and a much better resourced hospital.”

About his new role, Dr. Rodriguez said in a statement provided to The Americano, “I’m honored to serve on your team, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. I look forward to advocating for frontline providers across the US and for the millions of Americans whose only health care access is in emergency departments.”