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PIO Dr Ashish Jha to take over as Biden's Covid response coordinator

March 17, 2022 20:12 IST

Indian-American public health expert Dr Ashish Jha will take over as President Joe Biden's COVID-19 response coordinator next month, the White House announced on Thursday.

IMAGE: Indian-American public health expert Dr Ashish Jha. Photograph: Courtesy Dr Ashish Jha/Twitter

Biden's COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients and his deputy Natalie Quillian are leaving the administration next month, it said.


Biden's statement announcing Jha's appointment praised him as one of the leading public health experts in America and "a well known figure to many Americans from his wise and calming public presence."

Jha is the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

"..And 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," Biden said.

"I appreciate both Jeff and Dr Jha for working closely to ensure a smooth transition, and I look forward to continued progress in the months ahead," he said.

Zients, an experienced manager and government executive, was brought on by Biden before he took office to devise and execute a “wartime” federal government response to the coronavirus pandemic, including shoring up supply and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics and tests.

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 per cent 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. Today, almost 80 per cent 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," he said.

"In addition, the US leads the global effort to fight COVID, delivering more free vaccines to other countries than every other nation on Earth. The progress that he and his team have made is stunning and even more important consequential. Lives have been saved," he said.

Biden noted that the US is leading the global effort to fight COVID, "delivering more free vaccines to other countries than every other nation.”

The US is the worst hit nation by the pandemic. The county has reported over 968,300 deaths and more than 79,631,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

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