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The 5 women on Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force

November 10, 2020, 1:45 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A little-known Trump appointee controls some parts of the presidential transition, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath gets a Vogue India cover, and the Biden-Harris administration starts to take shape. Have a restful Tuesday.

– The 5 women advising Biden on COVID. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to seek a Cabinet that “looks like America.” And just days after he won the 2020 presidential contest, we’re getting an idea of who might be among his top advisors.

Yesterday, Biden announced his coronavirus task force, and the makeup of the 13-member group mostly meets the President-elect’s diversity pledge. As Fortune‘s Maria Aspan reports, 69% of the doctors and health experts named as advisors are Black, Latinx, Asian, or from other underrepresented groups. Thirty-eight percent are female. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine and a doctor who’s focused on structural inequities in health and health care, is one of the task force’s co-chairs. The other four women are: Luciana Borio, a doctor, VP of In-Q-Tel, and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a doctor at Bellevue Hospital Center; Julie Morita, a doctor who’s EVP of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Loyce Pace, the executive director and president of the Global Health Council.

Including perspectives from people of color and women—which should be a given!—is critical since the pandemic has disproportionately hurt members of the two groups, from a public health standpoint and economically. The announcement itself acknowledged the unequal fallout of the virus, stating that addressing the pandemic’s “ongoing racial and ethnic disparities” was one of the group’s priorities.

Beyond the task force, there’s plenty of speculation about whom Biden will pick to lead top federal agencies. One of the most-watched Cabinet positions is Treasury secretary, and Emma has a story on an early frontrunner: Lael Brainard.

Now a Fed governor, Brainard previously served the Obama administration as under secretary of the Treasury and worked for the Clinton White House as an economic advisor. She’s considered a moderate pick, at least compared to more progressive contenders, and favors keeping rates low, Emma reports. If she winds up in the job, she’ll represent another first for the Biden administration; a woman has never led the Treasury before.

Meanwhile, a Trump appointee is likely getting more attention that she bargained for. Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, has the little-known role of formally starting the transition between U.S. presidents; it’s an acknowledgement by the federal government that the election has a winner. The action—which usually takes place just hours after a winner is determined—is not just symbolic; it releases resources and information to the incoming administration so it can seamlessly assume power. Murphy, known as by-the-book and well-qualified, has not yet triggered the transition, an obvious nod to President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede. A spokeswoman for the GSA told the Washington Post that Murphy will act when a winner is “ascertain[ed].”

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Transition task force. Another forthcoming Biden transition team project is a task force on online abuse. The group will focus on the connection between online threats and stalking, and real-world consequences like extremism and violence against women. Fortune

- IMF gets glam. International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath gets the glossy magazine treatment in Vogue India. Gopinath discusses everything from the globe's economic outlook to the moment she learned she had the job to her fashion choices. Vogue India

- On par. Athlete Michelle Wie West is figuring out her next act—whether that's returning to golf or dipping her toe into startup investing. The new mom talks about giving birth amid the pandemic, how injury and motherhood changed how she thinks about her body, and her future in the sport: Fortune

- In command. Congratulations are in order for Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber, who yesterday became the first Black female brigade commander in the U.S. Naval Academy's 175-year history. In the highest leadership position within the student body, she'll oversee the day-to-day activities and professional training of her 4,400 peers. Washington Post

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rental marketplace Zumper promoted SVP of sales Natalie Cariola to chief sales officer and head of people Tina Sy to VP of people operations. 


- Electoral challenge. Aaron Coleman's race for a statehouse seat in Kansas drew a lot of attention after he was accused of—and admitted to—participating in cyber exploitation, or revenge porn, of teen girls. The Democrat won the seat—and now the state's party leaders are trying to ensure he doesn't end up in the legislature. New York Times

- Keeping going. Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research U.K., talks about how she steered the organization through a £160 million drop in income during the coronavirus pandemic. Mitchell has chosen layoffs and salary reductions alongside continued support for families experiencing cancer. Financial Times

- Boss v. boss. In Hamilton County, Ohio, Charmaine McGuffey lost her job in the sheriff's department three years ago after speaking out against excessive force; she also says she was fired for being gay. This year, she ran against her former boss for the sheriff's seat—and won. (The outgoing sheriff Jim Neil says he fired McGuffey for creating a hostile work environment.) NBC News


Oprah's Favorite Things 2020 support Black-owned businesses O Magazine

You can now listen to Blue Ivy Carter adorably narrate Matthew A. Cherry's beloved book, Hair Love Harper's Bazaar

The Trump presidency is ending. So is Maggie Haberman’s wild ride New York Times


"There was a part of me that wanted to give up and quit. But this other part of me was like, this is why you’re here. It’s supposed to be hard."

-Rock climber Emily Harrington, who last week became the first woman and fourth person to free climb the Golden Gate route on Yosemite National Park’s 3,000-foot granite wall