Dr Vivek Murthy: who is the Huddersfield-born surgeon general who Biden has appointed as head of his Covid-19 taskforce?

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face,” says Biden

As Donald Trump’s administration remains silent in the wake of the US election, president-elect Joe Biden has wasted no time in forging ahead with his plans for office when he takes seat in the White House in January.

Biden has made no secret of the need to tackle coronavirus in the US as cases and deaths continue to rise, with latest figures showing cases at more than 10 million and 240,000 deaths across the country.

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He has already encouraged America to wear masks and has now assembled a Covid-19 task force in the hope of bringing the virus under control.

The 12-member taskforce will be co-chaired by Huddersfield-born Dr Vivek Murthy.

Who is Dr Vivek Murthy?

Dr Murthy emerged as a key advisor on coronavirus to Biden during his 2020 election campaign, having previously held the position of surgeon general in the Barack Obama administration.

He was the youngest surgeon general when he was appointed to the role in December 2014, aged 37.

Dr Vivek Murthy, the former US surgeon general, has been appointed to president-elect Joe Biden's new Covid-19 taskforce. (Pic: Getty Images)

But was asked to resign in April 2017 by president Trump following the billionaire businessman’s 2016 election win.

Dr Murthy, now 42, was born in Huddersfield to Indian immigrant parents, who hail from a farming family in Halligere village in Karnataka.

He attended Harvard and Yale universities where he received a bachelor's degree and MD and MBA degrees, respectively. He later joined Harvard Medical School as faculty in internal medicine.

Dr Murthy is also a published author as he put pen to paper looking at the impacts of loneliness, titled ‘Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World’.

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What has he said about Trump’s handling of coronavirus?

Dr Murthy has been a long-time advocate of the need to wear masks, for the US’s response to be guided by science and has warned against politicising a public health emergency.

He has also offered words of support for the current coronavirus taskforce chair Dr Anthony Fauci, amid criticism from Trump and his supporters.

“The White House attacks on Dr. Fauci are unfair and dangerous. He's been right on #COVID19 far more than the politicians who blame him. During pandemics, science is your guide-even if it's politically inconvenient. Covid is surging. We need to hear more from scientists, not less,” Dr Murthy posted on Twitter.

What will Biden’s taskforce do?

The taskforce will be responsible for helping the US in its attempts to control the coronavirus pandemic. In order to do so, the 12-member strong team will look at options to better prepare and protect its citizens against the virus, which has spread across the nation.

Dr Murthy and his colleagues will look at ramping up the production of masks, face shields and PPE equipment, while testing will be central to their efforts, as Biden wants to double the number of drive-through testing sites available as well as significantly improve contact tracing.

What did Biden say about the taskforce?

Upon announcing the task force, president-elect Biden said: “Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts.

“The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”