Biden announces COVID-19 advisory board as Pfizer announces promising early vaccine data

first_imgThe board also includes Dr. Luciana Borio, who was until 2019 director for medical and biodefense preparedness on Trump’s National Security Council; Dr. Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who became a whistleblower over the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic; Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, of the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Atul Gawande, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy director Dr. Michael Osterholm; University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine professor Dr. Eric Goosby, who was global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama; Dr. Celine Gounder, of New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive vice president Dr. Julie Morita; the Global Health Council’s Dr. Loyce Pace; and Dr. Robert Rodriguez, another UCSF School of Medicine professor.Biden is, as promised, taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously and putting together a group of scientists to advise him. Unfortunately, Team Trump can be expected to stay in Biden’s way as he tries to prepare a robust public health response to the pandemic while Trump himself has a sustained temper tantrum over losing. Mike Pence tried to take a victory lap, claiming credit for the vaccine news—but “We were never part of the Warp Speed,” Pfizer’s head of vaccine research had already said on the record. “We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”The advisory board Biden announced is co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Nunez-Smith is an especially significant choice, since she studies discrimination in the healthcare system, an important topic in a pandemic that has hit Black and Latino communities so hard.”Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img At one time or another, Biden’s COVID-19 team will have to administer vaccine distribution. The Pfizer news suggests it may be sooner rather than later and that Biden may be inheriting a process Donald Trump has already messed up. “I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope,” Biden said in a statement responding to the Pfizer news. But he also warned that “the end of the battle against COVID-19 is many months away,” because even if the timeline stays in place, “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.” For that reason, Biden again emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Caleb Ferguson’s rookie experience included tutorial from Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax

first_imgGLENDALE, Ariz. — As tutorials go, a young left-handed pitcher couldn’t do any better.Dodgers lefty Caleb Ferguson made his postseason debut with a scoreless inning in relief during Game 1 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, striking out two of the three batters he faced. In the dugout immediately afterward, though, he wasn’t happy.“I told Honey (Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) after I came out that inning, ‘Hey, dude, this curveball is just not coming out of my hand the way I remember it was coming out of my hand two months ago,’ ” Ferguson said. “This was the first time I’d said something to him about it because I wasn’t really throwing it to begin with. I just told him it doesn’t feel right and he goes, ‘Well, Sandy’s here. We’ll just go talk to him after the game.’ I was like, ‘Uhhhh – alright.’ ”Honeycutt was referring to Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. The legendary left-hander attended some of the Dodgers’ postseason games each of the past few years and will occasionally make an appearance at spring training. “It’s early,” Roberts said. “We’re going to run the play out until we can’t run the play out. We’re going to build them up as if they’re going to start the season as starters and we’ll see where it goes from there.”INNINGS CAPUrias is in camp healthy for the first time since 2017, having returned last July from major shoulder surgery that sidelined him for more than a year. Urias made three appearances with the Dodgers as a September call-up and surprisingly made their roster for the NLCS and World Series, pitching 6-1/3 innings in relief.The Dodgers will handle Urias carefully again this year and cap his innings this season, Roberts said.“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t know that number but, yeah, he does (have an innings limit for 2019).“When it mattered in the postseason we counted on him but when you look at the workload the last couple years, it’s pretty low. … So we’ve still got to be mindful of that. How we ramp him up, when we ramp him up is at the forefront of our minds. … I think with Julio … with his development, we have to figure out the best thing for Julio Urias.” “Fergie … he made some adjustments during the season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Just the head, the compete – he doesn’t scare off. The fastball plays. The curveball at times was really good. Developing and working on the changeup that’s in there, that’s really going to be something we need to focus on this spring. … Developing that third pitch is going to be big for him.”The big question for Ferguson, though, is where he will be doing that development this season. Rushed to the big leagues for three starts last June, he took his lumps (a 7.59 ERA). Moved to a bullpen role, he did much better – a 7-1 record, two saves, a 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 11 strikeouts per nine innings. On the Dodgers’ postseason roster, he made six appearances without giving up a hit.So what does that make him now?“I really don’t know,” he said. “You look around here – you look at that row right there (in the clubhouse) and there’s all kinds of young guys like myself that are ready to contribute. Then you look at this row and it’s all bullpen guys. So I really have no idea.“But I’m still so young I think the ultimate goal is to start. Then again, whatever’s going to keep you in the big leagues and keeping a team like this in position to win is ultimately what you want to do. Right now, you look at our starting five – they’re the best in the game. I think the end goal is to be a starter. But I also think me coming out of the bullpen for my first couple years isn’t a bad idea because you gain a ton of confidence that way. Like I did last year.”Ferguson is one of seven pitchers in camp who made at least three starts for the Dodgers last season. Adding to that group are Julio Urias, Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart. Spillover is certain to land some in the bullpen and some in Triple-A.Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “I’m used to going up to someone like Rich (Hill) and going, ‘Rich, can we talk about this curveball?’ and then talk to Rich or we’d play catch, ripping curveballs at each other,” Ferguson said.Koufax’s advice to Ferguson was “just bury it,” gripping the ball deep in his hand and low on his thumb to get the torque needed for a sharp break. Easy for Koufax to say.“He has ginormous hands,” said Ferguson, not the first Dodgers pitcher to walk away from an encounter with Koufax with the same impression. “He’s just rubbing this ball up and I’m thinking, ‘Dude, your whole hand wraps around the ball.’ ”Ferguson said his talk with Koufax ranged beyond just curveball grips and lasted “30 or 45 minutes,” touching on “everything that involves pitching.” Ferguson adopted the curveball grip right away and said so far in spring training, “It’s definitely better. It’s definitely sharper, the shape of it has tightened up a lot and I’m throwing it a little harder.”Another pitch might be the key to Ferguson’s next step as a big-leaguer.center_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire last_img read more