The White House Covid coordinator Jeffrey Zients will be returning to private life and will be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha.
Zients is an entrepreneur and a management consultant, and has been responsible for steering President Joe Biden’s Covid response through waves of the pandemic, and also responsible for the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history.
Dr. Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and a practicing doctor in internal medicine, who has always urged for an aggressive approach to Covid, will replace Zients.
Biden said in a statement that Zients was a “man of service”, and praised his work delivering vaccinations, tests, treatments, and masks to Americans nationwide.
Zients had the difficult job of presiding over a tumultuous and challenging stretch of the Covid pandemic over the past 14 months. Two variants made the job even tougher, with Delta and Omicron being so highly infectious. There were also massive disinformation campaigns waging war against vaccinations and public health.
Now 75 percent of Americans have had at least one dose of vaccination, and the White House has shifted into more of a long-term public health strategy. They hope that if new variants pop up, Dr. Jha can use tools his predecessor installed over the past year plus to tackle them.
Dr. Jha’s background and expertise as a medical doctor make him the right choice as the virus becomes more endemic than a pandemic, officials said.
In Biden’s statement announcing that Dr. Jha would be the new incoming coordinator, he said that Dr. Jha is a well-known figure to many from his wise and calming public presence, and is a leading public health expert. Biden said he is the perfect person for the job.
Biden’s statement said that fighting Covid is far from done. The transition comes among indications that there is another rise in Covid cases in the U.S., and around the world.
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