In response to inquiries from GBH News, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen is clarifying the scope of her contribution to the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 response, after campaign press releases sent earlier this week incorrectly described her role.
Those releases, sent prior to Allen’s official campaign kickoff Tuesday, stated that Allen “chaired the coalition that developed the Biden/Harris administration’s Coronavirus Response plan” — an assertion that found its way into at least one newspaper article.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Allen corrected that description, saying Allen actually “chaired a Covid Rapid Response group that contributed policy to the Biden/Harris administration’s Coronavirus Response plan, including in one of President Biden’s first executive orders.”
The group in question was convened through Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which Allen leads. Its Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience — which suggested that ramped-up testing, tracing, and supported isolation “replace collective quarantine as a tool of disease control” — was published in April 2020.
In media appearances prior to her official launch, Allen had described her contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in more modest terms than the erroneous press releases did.
In March, appearing on the Horse Race podcast, Allen said she “worked really hard last spring to try to accelerate public investment in testing and contact tracing … [and] did get policy into the Heroes Act that was passed in May, and also [into] the Biden-Harris COVID response that’s just gone through.”
In May, appearing on WCVB’s On the Record, Allen said: “I did a huge amount of COVID work, really built the first national-policy road map advocating for accelerated ramp-up of investment in testing and contact tracing. Those are policies that have ended up in various ways in the Biden-Harris COVID response.”
Allen, who has never held elected office, has been exploring a gubernatorial bid since late 2020. She is the second Democrat to officially enter the race, joining former state Sen. Ben Downing, who launched his candidacy in February.