Biden names Dr. Ashish Jha new Covid response coordinator as Jeff Zients leaves

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 response coordinator, as Jeff Zients steps aside after serving in the role through the delta and omicron surges over the last 14 months.

Jha leads Brown University’s School of Public Health and previously headed Harvard’s Global Health Institute. He is a well known public voice on how the U.S. should respond to 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 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 lead the White House Covid response for 14 months and held countless public briefings on the state of pandemic. Biden praised Zients’ work in a statement, noting that most adults have become fully vaccinated while he helped lead the national response. More than 75% of adults in the U.S. have received two doses of a vaccine, according to data from the CDC

“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