With the State Department’s appointment of former USAID administrator Gayle Smith as coordinator of the United States’ global COVID response, the Biden administration takes an important step in global effort to fight COVID-19
WASHINGTON (April 6, 2021) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) praised the Biden administration’s appointment of former USAID administrator Gayle Smith as coordinator of the United States’ global COVID response and health security. The appointment, announced yesterday by the State Department, is an important step in the global effort to combat COVID-19 and also sends a strong message that the United States is resuming its rightful place in international affairs.
Politico reported that in announcing Smith’s appointment, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted, “We have a duty to other countries to get the virus under control here in the United States.” He added, “But soon, the United States will need to step up our work and rise to the occasion worldwide because, again, only by stopping COVID globally will Americans be safe for the long term.”
“If the immorality of global vaccine apartheid doesn’t bother you, the danger should,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We commend the Biden administration for recognizing the crucial role the U.S. can and must play in the global efforts to control COVID, including making vaccines far more widely available around the world. Gayle Smith’s appointment is important in and of itself, but also for the larger message it sends to the world about once again taking our place in the global community.”
After Blinken’s announcement, Politico reported that Smith remarked, “If the virus is moving faster than we are, it’s winning. But with unity of purpose, science, vigilance and leadership, we can outpace any virus.”
Smith currently serves as chief executive of the ONE Campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. Her organization has been advocating for removing barriers for getting people living in low- and middle incomes vaccinated.