Biden expected to tap Vivek Murthy for surgeon general, key role in COVID response

Murthy previously held the role under President Barack Obama.

December 04, 2020, 3:17 PM

President-elect Joe Biden is poised to nominate Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as surgeon general, a key role in the government's coronavirus response, multiple sources told ABC News. He will be elevating Murthy, a key member of his coronavirus advisory team, to the position he previously held in the Obama administration, according to the sources familiar with his plans.

Biden will begin rolling out members of his health team early next week, though a transition spokesperson declined to comment on Biden's plan's for Murthy.

Murthy, who has advised Biden on the pandemic throughout his campaign and transition, is expected to hold a broader portfolio in the next administration than he held under President Barack Obama.

Biden could also give Murthy an expanded title or elevate the role of the surgeon general within the administration, according to sources close to the transition, though no decision has been made.

Murthy is reportedly no longer under consideration to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

PHOTO: In this Feb. 4, 2014, photo, then U.S. Surgeon General appointee Dr. Vivek Murthy appears on Capitol Hill in Washington. Murthy has been named as co-chair by President-elect Joe Biden to his COVID-19 advisory board.
In this Feb. 4, 2014, photo, then U.S. Surgeon General appointee Dr. Vivek Murthy appears on Capitol Hill in Washington. Murthy has been named as co-chair by President-elect Joe Biden to his COVID-19 advisory board.
Charles Dharapak/AP, File

Jeffrey Zients, a senior transition official who served as a senior economic adviser to Obama, is also expected to coordinate the Biden administration's coronavirus response from the White House, working with Murthy to lead the effort, according to sources close to the transition.

Additionally, Biden has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, to serve as his chief medical adviser.

"I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he's had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well and be part of the COVID team," Biden said in a CNN interview on Thursday.

Biden is also considering David Kessler, who served as Food and Drug Administration commissioner under President Bill Clinton and has advised his campaign and transition, to lead the FDA, along with Joshua Scharfstein, who served as a deputy commissioner during Obama's first term, according to a source close to the transition.

ABC News' Molly Nagle and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

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