Biden picks Xavier Becerra to lead HHS, coronavirus response

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is putting a defender of the Affordable Care Act in a leading role to oversee his administration’s coronavirus response. Biden has picked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be his health secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, Becerra will be the first Latino to head the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s a $1 trillion-plus agency with 80,000 employees and a portfolio that includes drugs and vaccines, leading-edge medical research and health insurance programs. Separately, Biden has picked a Harvard infectious disease expert, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And he announced a new role for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert.