Biden’s Covid Czar to Be Replaced by Ashish Jha

Critics have said Mr Zients, who made a fortune building two consultancies and making them public, was an odd choice to carry out the pandemic response given his lack of public health experience. But his previous work has involved healthcare, both as chief executive of the Advisory Board Company, a healthcare consulting firm, and in the Obama administration, where he went to the trouble of fixing the website.

During the spate of cases — and deaths — this winter, some blamed Mr. Zients for not doing enough to prevent them, especially when the highly transmissible Omicron variant caught the administration unprepared. Some of Biden’s supporters — especially those on the Democratic left — openly despised both Mr. Zients and Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff.

“We wanted this to be a scientific operation; it’s run like a management consulting firm,” Gregg Gonsalves, a Yale University epidemiologist who has often been critical of the administration, said in a January interview. “Ron Klain and Jeff Ziens are the wrong people to be where it ends.”

In January, The American Prospect, a liberal website, published an article titled “Fire Jeff Zients” stating that he “proved he couldn’t handle the job and Biden should fire him from his duties.”

Mr. Zients couldn’t always see around the corner. In June, he declared that the nation was entering “a summer of joy, a summer of freedom,” not long after the Delta variant ravaged India and struck Britain. As it took hold in the United States over the summer, cases and deaths skyrocketed.

Critics pointed to the White House’s failure to provide enough supply to meet the huge demand for mass rapid testing in the weeks before and after Christmas, a logistical problem that continued well into January, when the Omicron surge began. to confiscate.

dr. However, Fauci defended Mr Zients, saying his predictions from last summer were based on assumptions — erroneous, as it turned out — that 70 percent of the adult population would have been vaccinated by July 4 and that the coronavirus would not be able to spread among vaccinated people. people.

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