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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 Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.