Saturday, February 27

U.S. Declined a Pfizer Offer – The New York Times

Congress tries to throw itself a lifeline, while Biden chooses a Harvard scientist to head the C.D.C. It’s Tuesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Biden arrived Saturday at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, a Roman Catholic church in Wilmington, Del.

Biden has chosen Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a Harvard professor and leading infectious disease scientist, to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency that stands to play an even more central role as Biden works to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

She will replace Dr. Robert Redfield, who has at times been at odds with Trump as the White House has often sidelined and contradicted its own public health officials.

Walensky has frequently been tapped as a panelist or a consultant for AIDS-response work at the National Institutes of Health, but she has not served in government in an executive role. She arrives from Massachusetts General Hospital, where she has been the head of the Division of Infectious Diseases, while also serving as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

She’s played a prominent role as the scientific community confronts the virus and debates how best to contain its spread. Last month, she was an author of a study published in the journal Health Affairs examining the necessary traits of an effective coronavirus vaccine.

The C.D.C. stands to play a more central role in the Biden administration than it currently does, as the president-elect works on a national framework for containing the surging virus and distributing a vaccine. Things are already trending in that direction: Last week the C.D.C. issued guidance urging people to wear masks at all times in public, something Biden had said he would instruct Americans to do for the first 100 days of his presidency.

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