Washington, Dec 7 (IANS) US President-elect Joe Biden will reportedly nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to multiple media outlets.
Biden is expected to make the announcement in coming days, along with choices for other key health posts, including head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports Xinhua news agency.
Becerra, 62, has been a member of the US House of Representatives for more than two decades before beginning serving as Attorney General of California in 2017.
He succeeded Kamala Harris, now the Vice President-elect, to lead the country’s largest state’s Justice Department after she was elected to the US Senate.
If confirmed, Becerra would become a key official in the country’s fight against the raging coronavirus pandemic, as the HHS will be responsible for overseeing the distribution of vaccines in the coming months.
Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has announced that he will be Biden’s chief medical adviser.
According to Biden, addressing the pandemic, which has infected 14,750,316 people and killed 282,236 in the US, currently the hardest-hit country in the world, will be a priority for his administration.
The Democrat has said he will urge Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days after taking office.
“This pandemic is ravaging the country,” Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, an initiative launched by President Donald Trump administration to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, told CNN on Sunday.
“We all need to take our precaution, wear our masks, wash our hands, keep our distance, remain aware that this virus is a killer,” Slaoui noted.
According to US media projections, Biden has won 306 electoral votes in the November 3 presidential election, surpassing the 270-vote threshold for clinching the presidency.
Biden has declared victory and announced the first tranche of his Cabinet nominees, including national security and foreign policy officials.
The General Services Administration has initiated Biden’s formal transition into the White House, but Trump, despite having directed his administration to facilitate the process, has vowed to continue the legal fight to challenge the election results.