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Biden Names Dr. Ashish Jha New Covid Response Coordinator to Succeed Jeff Zients

Jonathan Wiggs | Boston Globe | Getty Images
  • Jha leads Brown University's School of Public Health and previously headed Harvard's Global Health Institute.
  • He is a well-known public commentator on how Americans should respond to health risks in the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Jeff Zients is leaving after serving in the role for more than a year through the delta and omicron surges.

President Joe Biden on Thursday named Dr. Ashish Jha as his new Covid-19 response coordinator to succeed Jeff Zients, who served in the role through the delta and omicron surges.

Jha leads Brown University's School of Public Health and previously headed Harvard's Global Health Institute. He is a well-known public commentator on how Americans should respond to health risks in the pandemic.

Jha, in a Twitter post, cautioned that the pandemic is not over and the U.S. needs to prepare for future variants and surges by keeping schools and workplaces safe.

New Covid infections in the U.S. have plunged more than 90% since the peak of an unprecedented omicron surge in January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are down 89% from the omicron peak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, infections are rising again in major European nations, such as the U.K. and Germany, and China is battling its worst outbreak since 2020.

Zients has led the White House Covid response team for 14 months and has held countless public briefings on the changing state of pandemic. Biden praised Zients' work in a statement, noting that most adults have become fully vaccinated during his tenure. More than 75% of adults in the U.S. have received two doses of a vaccine, according to CDC data.

"The progress that he and his team have made is stunning and even more important consequential. Lives have been saved," Biden said in a statement

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