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Biden picks infectious diseases specialist to lead CDC: report

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears MORE has chosen Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Politico reported Sunday, citing two sources.

Biden’s choice to lead the CDC will be crucial as he is set to inherit a global pandemic upon assuming office on Jan. 20.

Walensky, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will replace current CDC Director Robert Redfield, who has held the position since March 2018, if confirmed.

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She will have the monumental task of helping lead the nation through the pandemic as vaccines are not expected to be widely available until the middle of next year. The CDC, despite the pandemic, has largely been sidelined by the Trump administration.

As part of her work, Walensky has studied the effectiveness of a potential coronavirus vaccine. She recently completed a study in partnership with Yale University looking at the efficacy rates of the coronavirus vaccines on a general population. Using a model they developed, the research team found that regardless of a vaccine’s effectiveness, the timing of its distribution was just as important to combating the pandemic.

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“If you have a cup of water and it can put out a fire on your stove, that same cup of water can't put out a forest fire,” Walensky told The Harvard Crimson.

Her research into the pandemic may prove to be invaluable in her new role, as many experts have warned one of Biden’s first challenges in office will be distributing the vaccine and convincing enough people to get immunized.

Reports also came out on Sunday that Biden would be nominating California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: COVID-19 vaccine makers pledge massive supply increase | Biden health nominee faces first Senate test | White House defends reopening of facility for migrant kids Romney presses Becerra on vote against ban on late-term abortions Pressed on school reopening, Becerra says it's a 'local issue' MORE to be the head of the Department of Health and Human Services