Biden has appointed a coronavirus task force and encouraged widespread masking — and the GOP is having none of it.
President-elect Joe Biden's decision to assemble a 12-person task force to combat the coronavirus pandemic this week has infuriated many prominent conservatives.
In a statement, Biden said that "dealing with the coronavirus pandemic" was "one of the most important battles our administration will face," adding that, unlike his predecessor, he would be "informed by science" and would consult his 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," he said.
On the official Biden-Harris transition website, the incoming administration also lists implementation of "mask mandates nationwide" in tandem with "governors and mayors" as one of the steps it will take to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"Experts agree that tens of thousands of lives can be saved if Americans wear masks," the website states.
According to the New York Times, three co-chairs were tapped to helm Biden's task force.
The trio includes Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale School of Medicine professor; Vivek Murthy, who previously served as surgeon general under the Obama administration; and David Kessler, previously Food and Drug Administration commissioner under former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
Biden has also tapped for his task force Rick Bright, who served as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority under Donald Trump.
Bright is noteworthy as the whistleblower who lost his job after warning the Trump administration of the seriousness of the pandemic, and urging the administration not to flood the market with untested hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
But it's another member of the task force who has drawn ire from right-wing pundits on social media: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Right-wing political commentator Liz Wheeler claimed baselessly on Monday that Emanuel wanted to dispose of the elderly, citing an op-ed he penned for the Atlantic in 2018 about how he personally hoped he would not live past 75.
"HORRIFYING: Biden appoints Dr. Zeke Emanuel to his COVID task force," she tweeted, linking Emanuel's 2018 piece. "Emanuel: 'I hope to die at 75.' This man is now in charge of protecting the nation's elderly."
She continued in the same vein.
"So Biden picks Zeke Emanuel for his COVID task force," Wheeler said in her second tweet. "Emanuel wants to die at 75. Argues that old age shouldn't be prolonged. Says old people don't contribute to society. Says he'll refuse healthcare, even flu shot. But now he'll 'protect' our nation's elderly from COVID?!"
Fox host Sean Hannity, too, slammed the appointment Tuesday morning, tweeting a piece by Charlie Kirk accompanied by the caption, "Biden Covid-19 Adviser Says Life is Not Worth Living Past 75."
Meanwhile, Fox's Laura Ingraham blasted Biden for not being more cheerful as he spoke to the American people about the deadly pandemic, which has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, with cases spiking.
"My God is he a downer..." Ingraham tweeted, posting a video of Biden's Monday speech. "Has [sic] his handlers not told him about the vaccine that that the Trump Admin funded?"
According to drug maker Pfizer, which is responsible for the vaccine to which Ingraham was referring, the Trump administration funded neither its research nor its development.
Controversial far-right figure Matt Walsh, who writes for the Blaze, retweeted a post by Fox News stating that Biden's "first move" as president would be a "mask mandate for all."
Like many other conservative figures, Walsh fiercely objects to the common-sense, medically recommended precaution Biden supports.
"This would be the first of many absurd and illegal orders from the potential Biden Administration that I will ignore," Walsh angrily tweeted.
Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren also roundly condemned Biden for asking the American people to wear masks in order to save lives, claiming it was a short step to fascism.
"Under Democrat control I believe they will make masks the new seatbelts-required long after COVID. Pay attention to their other 'new normal' suggestions, it's the agenda they have for the nation. Control. Control. Government dependence, control," Lahren tweeted.
Also on Monday, Lahren claimed that in Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' America, the economy would be destroyed and Christmas dinner ruined by coronavirus lockdowns.
"What would our country look like under Biden (Kamala)..." she tweeted. "Take a look at California. Fifth largest economy in the world yet a ballooning homeless crisis, outrageous taxes and regulations and a government mandated holiday invite threshold. Sounds fuuuunnn."
Daily Wire editor and right-wing provocateur Ben Shapiro simply mocked the entire notion of a coronavirus task force to stop the pandemic, even as he supported Trump's erstwhile attempts at a coronavirus task force earlier in the year.
"For a second there I thought Biden had no plan other than to crib from Trump's plan, say masks a lot, and wait for cover to wane," he tweeted sarcastically. "But then he announced a Task Force! and I realized our problems were nearly done."
Shapiro punctuated "Task Force!" with cartoonish emojis of musical notes on either side.
An hour later, he repeated the same snide remark.
"To solve covid, we need a... Task Force!" he again tweeted, again with musical note emojis. This time, Shapiro paired his tweet with a GIF of employees around a conference table cheerily captioned, "Let's have a meeting!"
Biden, however, sees nothing to make light of about a pandemic that has claimed at least 237,000 American lives to date.
On Wednesday, the United States hit a record of more than 107,000 coronavirus cases in a day, which then snowballed to 121,000 new cases on Thursday — record-breaking numbers, according to the New York Times.
And Monday, the United States crossed the threshold of 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases — 20% of all coronavirus cases worldwide, and more than any other nation in the world.
"We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months," Biden said in a speech to the nation Monday. "Not Democratic or Republican lives, American lives. Please, I implore you, wear a mask."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.