WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients and his deputy Natalie Quillian are leaving the administration next month, the White House announced Thursday. They will be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
Biden, in a statement, praised Zients and his team for “stunning” and “consequential” progress against the coronavirus pandemic.
“When Jeff took this job, less than 1% of Americans were fully vaccinated; fewer than half our schools were open; and unlike much of the developed world, America lacked any at-home COVID tests,” Biden said. “Today, almost 80% of adults are fully vaccinated; over 100 million are boosted; virtually every school is open; and hundreds of millions of at-home tests are distributed every month.”
Biden noted that the U.S. is leading the global effort to fight COVID, “delivering more free vaccines to other countries than every other nation.”
Biden’s statement announcing Jha’s appointment cited his familiarity to Americans as a fixture on cable news.
“As we enter a new moment in the pandemic — executing on my National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and managing the ongoing risks from COVID — Dr. Jha is the perfect person for the job,” he said.