Who are the Latinos on Biden’s coronavirus advisory task force?
There are two Latinos on the president-elect’s team created to develop strategies to beat COVID-19.
As his victory looked imminent towards the end of Election Week 2020, then-Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden said the first thing he would do once in office is get the coronavirus pandemic under control.
Now, having been declared the winner and president-elect, Biden wasted no time in putting together a coronavirus advisory task force of 13 doctors, disease experts, and other health leaders to develop strategies to end the COVID-19 nightmare in the U.S.
Since the virus entered the country in March, there have been more 10.5 million cases and a death count that is quickly approaching 250,000. In addition to the medical damage, the pandemic has also thrown the country into an economic depression unlike any seen since 2008.
The economy will recover, but only if the virus is brought under control, and especially in the most-affected communities.
“Focusing on these communities is one of our priorities, not an afterthought,” Biden said at a Nov. 9 virtual briefing on COVID-19.
The Latino community sits at the top of those most-affected by coronavirus both in cases and deaths across the country.
It is important then, that Biden’s coronavirus task force have Latinos to speak to about the disparity and how to develop a culturally-competent plan that will work for members of the community.
There are currently two Latinos on Biden’s coronavirus advisory task force, but the president-elect also said it could add more as necessary.
They are as follows:
Dr. Borio is an infectious disease expert and once served on the pandemic response team inside President Donald Trump’s National Security Council. She left the administration when Trump disbanded the team in 2018.
In January 2020, Borio was one of the first physicians stateside to warn the public of a pending pandemic in COVID-19. She is also the vice president of technical staff at the nonprofit venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, which develops new tech for national security agencies.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Borio first came to the U.S. to pursue a medical degree at George Washington University. From there, she was a resident at New York Presbyterian Hospital for three years before going into biosecurity work.
Dr. Rodriguez is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. He is also an emergency room doctor in California, and responded to the surge of COVID-19 cases in his native Texas by returning to the state.
Rodriguez’s work back in Texas is also where he grew up in Brownsville, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Cameron County, where Brownsville is located, is 90% Latino, so Rodriguez has seen first-hand how Latinos are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
"They wind up on ventilators, and maximum support," he explained to San Francisco’s ABC News affiliate back at the end of July. "We're trying everything, but these patients are extremely, extremely sick."