Biden names pandemic official to new national security team

Presidential Transition

(Courtesy: NTI.org)

WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden plans to add a senior official overseeing global health security as he remakes the White House National Security Council, restoring a government function cut by the Trump administration before the COVID-19 pandemic, his office said in a statement on Friday.

Elizabeth Cameron, a biologist who led the pandemic group before it was disbanded, will return to serve as senior director for the team as Biden prepares a strategy he hopes will reduce death and illness from a pandemic that continues to besiege the United States, the statement said.

The biodefense group was started by former President Barack Obama’s administration, in which Biden served as vice president, to research and prevent pandemics. Dissolved by the Trump administration, some of the group’s members merged into other units in a reorganization effort.

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Vaccines have been slow to make their way to the public, with over 4,000 Americans dying for a second straight day on Thursday.

Biden will make broader national security changes, too, with his team installing an official with a broad mandate over Russia policy as well as a senior director for climate and energy. The Democrat has vowed to take a tougher approach to both Russia and climate change than his Republican predecessor.

Trevor Hunnicutt reporting for Reuters; Tim Ahmann contributed. Reuters contributed to this report.

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