Public Health

Biden taps Dr. Ashish Jha as Covid response head, succeeds Jeff Zients

dr Ashish Jha is pictured in Providence, RI on Dec. 3, 2020.

Jonathan Wiggs | Boston Globe | Getty Images

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 US needs to prepare for future variants and surges by keeping schools and workplaces safe.

New Covid infections in the US 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 UK 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 US 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 consequently. Lives have been saved,” Biden said in a statement

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