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UPenn Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel To Serve On President-Elect Biden's Coronavirus Task Force

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It's shaping up to be a busy day for President-elect Joe Biden. He's already working on a campaign promise to contain the coronavirus pandemic, and he's tapping a local doctor to join his team.

Biden said throughout the campaign that the coronavirus would be his top priority and that's evident with Monday's announcement. Biden is not wasting any time preparing for the White House.

"Our work begins with getting COVID under control," Biden said while addressing the nation after his win on Saturday. "That plan will be built on bedrock science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern."

On Monday, Biden introduced his coronavirus task force. Eyewitness News confirms a doctor from the University of Pennsylvania is among a group of leading health professionals on the list.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Penn.

"It is a great honor to serve for the President and Vice President-elect to address this pandemic and get the country moving again," Emanuel said of the appointment.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler will lead the group.

"Joe Biden is going to make good on his promises on the campaign trail," Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor to President-Elect Joe Biden, said.

CBS News has learned Biden is expected to unveil a series of executive orders on his first day in office. They include rescinding President Donald Trump's travel ban, reinstating the DACA program and re-joining the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Agreement.

"This is what the American people voted for, this is what they want to see," Kate Bedingfield, Biden deputy campaign manager and communications director, said.

Trump has yet to concede the election while his campaign pursues legal challenges in several battleground states. Many elected Republicans are supporting his fight.

"Do not concede Mr. President, fight hard." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

"Seventy million Americans voted for Donald Trump, and they and the president deserve to have this process play out," Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said.

But legal experts say the campaign's arguments lack evidence.

"Even if they had merit, which the vast majority of them do not, they wouldn't result in the overturning of the election. They might result in a few dozen ballots here or there being thrown out," University of Chicago Law School Professor Jonathan Masur said.

Biden is ahead by about 45,000 votes in Pennsylvania and 10,000 votes in Georgia.

Senior White House officials tell CBS News the president will concede if the final numbers reflect a Biden win, and all legal options are exhausted.


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