White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced his decision to depart Thursday, after a year of leading President Joe Biden’s team.
“I called on Jeff Zients to lead my Administration’s COVID-19 response because there is no one better at delivering results than Jeff,” Biden said in a 486-word statement released by the White House to mark Zients’ departure.
Zients was the voice behind every video call coronavirus briefing and coordinated the response from both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
“He is a man of service and an expert manager,” Biden said. “I will miss his counsel and I’m grateful for his service.”
Under Zients, the Biden administration was caught off guard by the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus, leaving the country unprepared. He also oversaw the administration’s response during a testing shortage around the Christmas season, which left Americans frustrated.
The president noted under Zients’ leadership, Americans were finally starting to get back to “more normal routines” even as another wave of the virus threatens to ramp up coronavirus precautions and restrictions again.
Biden warned the American people the fight against the virus was “far from done” and that the administration needed to get more vaccines and boosters.
“We must fight the virus overseas, prepare for new waves, and new variants – all of which can be coming,” he warned
Biden announced that Dr. Ashish Jha would replace Zients as the new coronavirus coordinator.