President-elect Biden's COVID-19 task force to include 3 UCSF doctors

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are not wasting time getting to work even as President Donald Trump promises his legal team will be in court today.

"There is so much good work happening at state and local levels across the country," said President-elect Biden. "Governors, mayors, they're stepping up...the advisory board will listen and learn lessons from their experience."

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Overnight, the Biden team announced a COVID-19 advisory board. There will be three UCSF doctors on this task force -- including Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology Dr. David Kessler.

Two other UCSF doctors, Robert Rodriguez and Eric Goosby are members of the board, which is made up of 13 people.

"The three people chosen all bring different lenses," said Dr. Bob Wachter, UCSF Dept. of Medicine Chair. "All remarkable leaders."

Dr. David Kessler is a leader in academia. The former dean of UCSF is currently a professor of pediatrics, epidemiology and biostatistics. Kessler served as FDA Commissioner under President George H.W. Bush and was reappointed by President Bill Clinton, serving from 1990-1997.

"He understands the way the FDA works, the way the regulatory process works," said Wachter. "It's an important lens."

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Dr. Robert Rodriguez is an emergency medicine professor at UCSF's School of Medicine. He's currently working in the emergency room department and ICU of two major trauma centers - including Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

"He's also written about the mental health of caregivers, of doctors and nurses along the frontlines," said Wachter. "All really important perspectives."

ABC7 spoke to Rodriguez in July when he was volunteering at his hometown hospital in Brownsville, Texas. Wachter expects his experience working on the frontline in areas disproportionately affected by COVID-19 will be a key asset.

"We're trying everything but these patients are extremely, extremely sick," said Rodriguez during the July interview.

Dr. Eric Goosby is internationally recognized as infectious disease expert and known for his prominent leadership roles fighting HIV and AIDS under the Clinton and Obama administrations.

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Not since the AIDS crisis, has a disease been so political. And much of the reaction to COVID-19 has clearly split along America's fault lines.



"Under Obama, Eric Goosby was the US AIDS Coordinator," said Wachter. "He has run the international program to fund AIDS and has run the global program on tuberculosis."

ABC7 profiled Goosby in August to get his perspective on COVID vaccine priorities.

"It should be done in a way that allows for people with a prioritization of need," said Goosby. "The sicker people should get it first."

Wachter said there is no one in the world he could think of that has had as many important roles in tackling infectious diseases on a global scale.

"Eric will be remarkable," he said.

President-elect Biden said this advisory board will call on governors to enforce mask mandates, enhance testing efforts, boost contact tracing, and create a special taskforce to look at racial disparities.

Biden has repeatedly emphasized he is going to rely on science when it comes to containing the virus.

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