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Joe Biden on Oct. 28 in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden plans Monday to name a 12-member task force to combat and contain the spread of the coronavirus, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: By announcing a COVID task force even before unveiling his senior White House staff or a single cabinet appointment, Biden is signaling that addressing the coronavirus will be the immediate priority for his transition, and then his potential administration.

  • While Biden still hasn't declared victory in Tuesday's election, his team is already planning to govern, and he and his advisers want to reassure the country they can address a health crisis that's getting worse, not better.

Details: The task force will be led by three co-chairs: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Marcella Nunez-Smith from Yale University.

  • Some members of the group have been advising Biden throughout the campaign, both the public policy challenges, as well as adopting health protocols for the campaign itself to prevent the spread of the virus in Biden's inner circle.
  • On Friday night, Biden claimed voters have "given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism."

The backdrop: As of 8am, the United States had suffered 236,099 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Axios Coronavirus Dashboard.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Health

Biden admin to boost COVID vaccine delivery to states for at least 3 weeks

Vice President Harris receives her second COVID-19 vaccine dose in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to increase its COVID-19 vaccine shipments to states and tribes from 8.6 million doses per week to 10 million for at least the next three weeks, as part of an effort to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population by the end of this summer.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states across the U.S. say they are running out of vaccines and the country's death toll is sharply rising.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate — Neil Young demands Spotify take down music over vaccine misinformation — Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.