President-elect Joe Biden has already named the heads of his coronavirus task force that will be co-chaired by Indian-American Dr. Vivek Murthy. The announcement will be made on Monday as a part of Biden's first steps towards the ongoing pandemic.

As Biden begins his presidential transition soon after defeating Donald Trump in US election, he will announce a 12-member coronavirus taskforce. As promised in his campaigns, Biden will make the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic his priority.

The coronavirus taskforce will be headed by three co-chairs— former surgeon general Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler, and Yale University's Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. While the names of the other members of the committee will be announced at the beginning of the week, here is all about Indian-origin surgeon Murthy.

The 43-year-old Vivek Murthy is an American physician and former Vice-Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, according to his bio on his official website. He has served as s the nineteenth Surgeon General of the United States under the leadership of former US President Barack Obama. He was fired from his position after Donald Trump took over as the president in 2017.

A Harvard graduate, Murthy has co-founded non-profit organisations such as Doctors for America in 2008 and VISIONS Worldwide in 1995 committed to spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS. In addition, he has worked with thousands of Commissioned Corps officers during the outbreak of Ebola and Zika virus. He has also worked towards tackling the Flint water crisis, hurricanes, and other health care issues occurring in underdeveloped communities. His research endeavours include a study on vaccines and health care services.

Murthy's Indian roots

Murthy was born in Huddersfield England to parents who originated from the Indian state of Karnataka. He comes from a family of medical practitioners who shifted their base to Florida. After attending Miami Palmetto Senior High School, he went on to attend Harvard University where he majored in biochemical sciences in bachelor of arts, in 1997. This year, the physician also co-founded the Swasthya Community Health Partnership to train women as community health workers in rural parts of India.

Murthy was a speaker at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, a presidential nominating convention where he spoke in support of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Biden has pledged to begin working on the coronavirus pandemic immediately and promised to "let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end here and now," in his victory speech. "We must restore the soul of America," he added.

Dr Vivek Murthy
Former Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, USPHS 19th Surgeon General of the United States. Photo: United States Department of Health and Human Services via Wikimedia Commons