The Unholy Trinity: The co-chairs of Biden's COVID-19 panel

Later today, it is expected that Joe Biden will announce the creation of his COVID-19 Task Force that will guide him in his plan to "manage" the coronavirus pandemic that reportedly was a — if not the — major factor in influencing Americans to vote for him.  According to an article Saturday at Stat News, "[i]n one exit poll, a majority of voters said they favored pandemic containment measures [which Biden supports] even at the economy's expense."

On Saturday, in what it said was a "scoop," Axios reported that three medical experts have been chosen to co-chair what is anticipated to be Biden's twelve-member COVID-19 panel.  This will be an outside group of individuals not currently employed by the government.  Therefore, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will not be joining — or leading — the Biden effort until after Biden — God forbid — is certified and legally declared the winner and takes office next Jan. 20.

These three individuals, the first ones to be tapped by Biden to play major roles in a critical area of public health and the country's life in general, should give conservatives and Trump-supporters reasons for major concern.

First on the list is Vivek Hallegere Murthy, M.D., who served as President Obama's last surgeon general.  Murthy was born in England to parents who immigrated from India.  When he was a young child, the family moved to Canada and eventually settled in the United States.  Murthy received his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine.  His appointment as surgeon general was opposed by many Republican senators who cited his youth and inexperience (he was 37 at the time) and because of comments he made declaring gun violence a threat to public health.  In December 2015, he was confirmed by a vote of 51-43.


Vivek Murthy, M.D.
Public domain photo by United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Murthy is a founder and president of Doctors for America, a group of more than 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting "high quality affordable care for all."  Translation: socialized medicine.  Another pet issue of Murthy's is the purported effects of climate change on the country's health.  He was one of the first people President Trump fired after he took office in 2017.

The second panel co-chair is Marcella Nunez-Smith, M.D., who grew up in the Virgin Islands and is now a physician at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she holds a variety of titles.  Dr. Nunez-Smith specializes in race and health care and studies medicine through the prism of race, social justice, and identity politics.

Nunez-Smith's 50 studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, with their abstracts or full texts available at PubMed, the National Library of Medicine's Internet portal, include the following titles:

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Population-Level Covid-19 Mortality

Impact of race on the professional lives of physicians of African descent

Minority Resident Physicians' Views on the Role of Race/Ethnicity in Their Training Experiences in the Workplace

Racial Disparities in Medical Student Membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society

Socially-assigned race, healthcare discrimination and preventive healthcare services

Healthcare workplace conversations on race and the perspectives of physicians of African descent

A decade ago, Nunez-Smith was awarded two grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling almost $400,000 for the purpose of "Measuring racial/ethnic discrimination in healthcare settings."

The third co-chair of Biden's panel is David Kessler, M.D.  With his Harvard medical degree, Dr. Kessler is yet another Yale-connected medical bureaucrat on Biden's panel: he served as the dean of the Yale Medical School between 1997 and 2003.

Kessler is most widely known as the FDA commissioner who served for seven years in the 1990s.  He is remembered and not at all fondly by proponents of nutritional medicine for essentially declaring war on popular and safe nutritional supplements and for attempting to expand FDA and federal government regulation of supplements by reclassifying them as drugs.  It was Kessler who also reportedly encouraged SWAT-style raids on innovative natural health clinicians, including the notorious federal assault on the Kent, Wash. medical practice of Jonathan Wright, M.D. in May 1992.

In response to his hostility toward natural healing, an unprecedented grassroots citizens' campaign against Kessler and the FDA was mounted in 1992, led by an ad hoc group called the Nutritional Health Alliance.  Literally millions of messages mailed, phoned, and faxed to members of Congress influenced politicians to rein in the FDA.  The result was the passage by Congress in 1994 of DSHEA — the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which watered down FDA oversight a bit and more or less protected consumers' access to nutritional supplements to the present day.

Currently, a number of prominent Democrats, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), are vehement opponents of supplements and freedom of medical choice and have expressed interest in re-regulating access to nutritional supplements.

Last year, Kessler was elected chair of the board of directors of the Center for Science in the Public Interest — a left-wing pro–nanny state lobbying group, founded by some of Ralph Nader's "raiders," that has been around since the 1970s.  Kessler also serves on the board of directors of Ellodi Pharmaceuticals, a gastroenterology-focused specialty pharmaceutical company formed by TPG Capital.

Axios and The Hill reported that Kessler has been advising Biden on COVID-19 for months.  Before the election, Biden said that Fauci will be his #1 COVID-19 czar.  On Nov. 7, Stat News quoted Nicole Lurie, "a Biden campaign adviser who served as the Obama administration's top pandemic-preparedness official."

There are some things he's [Biden's] going to do right off the bat. He will reach out to Tony Fauci. He will declare his intent to be an active participant in the WHO and in the world.

On Friday night, Biden claimed voters have "given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism." Biden's plan? Mask mandates. Yesterday, the lead story at Fox News dot com was headlined "Biden's first move as president-elect? Mask mandate for all." The article explained "One of Joe Biden's first priorities as president-elect will be implementing mask mandates nationwide." Biden has also promised to expand mass testing for COVID-19, ratchet up contact tracing (in effect, a spy enforcement grid), encourage radical social distancing — and, we may assume — in the not too distant future, introduce immunity passports that will constitute a de facto COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In a related development, here's what's ahead or already here among some prominent Democrats who are clearly emboldened by Biden's authoritarian pronouncements: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dispatched National Guard troops to New York City airports to confront arriving travelers in order to confirm that they have tested negative for the coronavirus and have a "right" to travel to New York.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  He also appears in the media, including recently as a contributor to BBC World News.  Peter's website is http://peter.media.  His YouTube channel is here.  For updates on his work, follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

Image credit: Yale School of Public Health via shareable Twitter.