She was a speaker at an event held in Wilmington, Delaware, during which she and President-elect Biden announced their Key Health Team appointees and nominees. “So today, we have a message,” she said, going on to add that “help is on the way.”
Among those appointed are: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the upcoming chief medical advisor, Jeff Zients, who will serve as coordinator of the COVID-19 response and Natalie Quillian, the deputy coordinator of the COVID-19 response. They will not require confirmation from the Senate.
Additional nominees are: Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, for the position of secretary of Health and Human Services and Dr. Vivek Murthy for US surgeon general. Murthy served as surgeon general under the Obama administration.
While giving remarks, Harris shared that over Thanksgiving, she and President-elect Biden personally called front line health care workers to thank them for their efforts during this trying time. She recalled some of the employees by name, saying, “We wanted to express our gratitude, and our nations gratitude for everything they have been doing…That day I spoke with two registered nurses—Maureen in Pennsylvania and Talisa in Illinois.”
The two women candidly spoke with Harris about what the general public has been enduring. They also reflected on the struggles of essential workers. The vice president elect shared that their unfortunate individual plights are all too common. “We’ve all heard the stories about grandmothers and grandfathers, loved ones and friends spending their last moments alone,” she said to viewers.
Vice president-elect Harris then talked about the “physical and mental” exhaustion that nurses and doctors are navigating. Since the pandemic began, American hospital workers have discussed working with limited staff, rising cases/safety concerns, not having the necessary equipment and pay issues. Nurses at one Pennsylvania hospital went on strike in late November, as they urged higher ups to create better working conditions.
As all of this unfolds, Harris maintains that the incoming administration will bring about an overdue change. Their transition team has already shared a plan for COVID-19 relief to be enacted after their inauguration. It includes “equitable distribution of treatment and vaccines,” mandatory face mask guidelines, free testing and more.