The White House announced Thursday that President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients and deputy Natalie Quillian are leaving the administration next month. They will be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
Zients, a seasoned manager and civil servant, was recruited by Biden before he took office to develop and implement the federal government’s “military” response to the coronavirus pandemic, including boosting the supply and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics and tests. His departure comes at a time when the White House is shifting its stance from confronting the emergency to pushing Americans back to normal as the nation learns to live with a less severe virus that is likely to remain endemic.
The latest national COVID-19 strategy, published by Zients and his team earlier this month, outlines a strategy to allow people to safely resume their normal activities after two years of pandemic disruption.
Jha’s choice comes as the Biden administration has come under fire for obfuscating public reporting on the virus as many restrictions and mandates are eased.
Biden’s announcement announcing Jah’s appointment highlighted his communication skills and familiarity with the Americans who constantly appear on cable news.
“As we enter a new moment in the pandemic — implementing my National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and managing ongoing COVID-related risks — Dr. Jha is the perfect person for this job,” he said.
Biden, in a statement, praised Zients and his team for “amazing” and “consistent” progress against the coronavirus pandemic.
“When Jeff took this job, less than 1% of Americans were fully vaccinated; less than half of our schools were open; and, unlike much of the developed world, there were no home tests for COVID in America,” Biden said. “Today almost 80% of adults are fully vaccinated; raised more than 100 million; almost every school is open; and hundreds of millions of home tests are distributed every month.”
Biden noted that the U.S. is leading the global effort to combat COVID, “by supplying other countries with more free vaccines than any other country.”
The State Department on Thursday announced that the US has shared more than 500 million doses with the world of the 1.2 billion doses pledged by the end of this year.
The 90-page National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan outlines initiatives and investments to further reduce serious illness and death from the virus, while preparing for possible new options and providing employers and educational institutions with the resources to stay open.
“This plan sets out a roadmap to help us fight COVID-19 in the future as we move America from crisis to a time when COVID-19 won’t disrupt our daily lives and will be what we prevent, protect and treat.” “, the message says. The White House said. “We are not going to just ‘live with COVID’. Through our work, we will no longer let COVID-19 dictate how we live.”
Prior to his service in the Biden administration, Zients was Biden’s vice chairman of the transition. During the Obama administration, he was director of the National Economic Council, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and led the effort to fix HealthCare.gov after its disastrous 2013 rollout. He was also the top leader on the Advisory Board. Company.
Quillian was Biden’s deputy campaign manager for 2020 and was the chief assistant chief of staff in the Obama White House, and served on the National Security Council and the Pentagon.