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Ashish Jha as New COVID-19 Coordinator

Jeff Zients is stepping down as White House COVID-19 response coordinator next month, CNN reports. It adds that the position will then be filled by Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University's School of Public Health.

Zients, an entrepreneur and management consultant, has held the position for slightly more than a year and has overseen the vaccination campaign and the emergence of two SARS-CoV-2 variants, the New York Times adds. In a statement, President Joe Biden praises Zients as a "man of service and an expert manager," adding that "I will miss his counsel and I'm grateful for his service."

CNN says the choice of Jha to take the response coordinator spot comes as the White House is shifting to a new stage of pandemic response. NPR notes that this new stage tries to balance a return to normalcy with keeping watch for new variants. Biden says in his statement that Jha is just the person for the job with "his wise and calming public presence."

"As much as I wish otherwise, the pandemic is not over," Jha says in a tweet. "So let's keep our eye on the ball."

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