Welcome to the WBD News Flash, your weekly highlight of HR benefits and healthcare news. Weekly, we will provide you with the top trending industry news stories in healthcare, human resources, legislation, benefits technology and administration, and more. Make the WBD News Flash your go to reference for current events!

President-Elect Biden’s Coronavirus Plan Takes Shape

The incoming Biden Administration’s plans to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are beginning to take shape, as President-Elect Biden selects medical advisors who be part of a team of healthcare officials when he enters the White House. A former U.S. surgeon general, Vivek H. Murthy, will be working in the new administration, according to The Washington Post. Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci will serve as chief medical advisor, as he continues as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Additionally, Biden has said on CNN he will ask the nation to wear a mask for one hundred days, committing to the preventive measure as a way to significantly reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

Trump Administration Partners with CVS Health on Antibody Treatment

The federal government has purchased nearly one million doses of Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment for COVID-19, and is working with CVS Health to pilot a treatment program in long-term care facilities and at home. The antibody therapy, bamlanivimab, has emergency authorization from the FDA.

The Department of Health and Human Services will partner with CVS Health to administer the drug to severely at-risk patients who have not been hospitalized. They’ll begin the program in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Tampa. The government is basing weekly allocations of the drug to areas with rising seven-day averages of COVID cases.

CDC Doubles Down on Mask Guidance as COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket

Last week, the CDC strengthened guidance for mask wearing as a preventive measure against coronavirus transmission. Now, as data shows many cases are coming from family members or housemates, the CDC states “keeping the household safe requires physical distancing. . .and, in particular, consistent and correct use of face masks (outside the household and in some circumstances within the household) to prevent introduction and transmission.”

The updates come as the U.S. crosses into uncharted territory in the pandemic, with daily death tolls coming close to 3,000 deaths throughout the first week of December. Experts warn that complacency due to vaccine news is misplaced. “Vaccines and vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the toolkit that we have,” Dr. Michael Ryan of the WHO Health Emergencies program told CNN. “But by themselves they will not do the job.”