Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith

Yale Professor to Lead President-Elect Biden's COVID-19 Equity Task Force

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A doctor and Yale University professor who will co-chair President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 task force will also serve as the chair of his COVID-19 equity task force.

Biden announced Tuesday afternoon that Yale University Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith will lead efforts to make sure the government’s coronavirus response is fair and equitable.

Biden said the team he announced Tuesday is made up of “world-class experts” who will be ready on day one.

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday outlined his plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in his first 100 days. He said he would require masks where he could under the law, secure 100 million vaccine shots and open a majority of schools.

He called Nunez-Smith “one of the country’s foremost experts on health care disparities” and said she will lead the effort to provide care for communities most in need and impacted by the pandemic.

Biden introduced Nunez-Smith at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Nunez-Smith said she grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a place where people too often die too young from preventable conditions.

Her own father had a stroke when he was in his 40s and was paralyzed, she said.

"I learned there was a term for what we were -- an under-served community, marginalized by place and by race," she said.  

She said the coronavirus crisis has laid inequities bare.

“It is not a coincidence and it is not a matter of genetics that more than 70 percent of African Americans and more than 60 percent Latinx Americans personally know someone who has been hospitalized or died from COVID-19,” Nunez-Smith said.

She added that it is a societal obligation to ensure equitable access to testing, treatment and vaccines.

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