In the weeks since Jaha’s announcement, administration officials’ surprise at the choice has sparked skepticism, with some personally questioning how the academician, well known for his televised comments, will manage a complex operation involving all parts of the federal bureaucracy.
Biden’s close allies and medical advisers have expressed similar doubts about the possibility of influencing the Jaha as an outsider in a tightly knit West Wing. And among those who spent last year fighting the pandemic at the center of Biden’s presidency, there remains confusion about what it means for Jeffrey Ziants to go as Covid’s coordinator and raise Jaha. Is this a new era in Biden’s war with Covid, or the beginning of the end for responding to the White House crisis?
“We have all these communicators,” said a Biden official working on the pandemic. “But do we have anyone who knows the operations?”
Jham himself seems to know about the concern. Three prominent figures in the matter say he intends to bring in an MP with government experience who is well versed in the Byzantine structures of the federal government.
The uncertainty of Biden’s Covid team, described in interviews with 11 administration officials and others close to the answer, underscores the delicate transition that the White House is now trying to navigate for more than 14 months as president. Covid’s cases and hospitalizations have reached levels not reached since last summer. Public health precautions such as wearing a mask and social distance have disappeared in much of the country. And among Democrat voters and lawmakers, there is a growing desire to finally leave the pandemic.
Yet there is also the awkward acknowledgment that the administration’s work is not yet complete – and that Covid could return at any moment. The government is preparing for another round of vaccine distribution and is still working on a vaccination permit for younger children. Extensive plans to strengthen schools and workplaces against future epidemics and a supply of life-saving remedies depend on Congress breaking a deadlock on billions of dollars in funding.
In addition to all the logistical challenges, health officials are closely monitoring the growth of the Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, so that new growth is already on the horizon. Subvariant is now the dominant strain in the US, with cases like the one in New York steadily increasing over the past week.
Jaha, who formally takes responsibility for Covid’s response next week, became known as a widely respected medical expert who tended to address the pandemic confusion with clear explanations and easy-to-understand advice.
As Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, a 51-year-old man has become widely known on television. And on Twitter, Where he provides permanent guidance to followers in the six figures (presumably, he will continue to tweet as a government representative, presumably from an official administration account). Jaham has also tacitly advised state leaders, federal officials and congressional lawmakers to gain the respect of both Democrats and Republicans for his measured and non-partisan approach to managing the Covid crisis.
“Communication is a very important part of what happens: it helps build trust and helps maintain trust,” said Richard Besser, executive director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former CEO of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jha’s appointment. “It’s really important that the White House continues to send a message that the pandemic is not over.”
Still, even his fans have questions about how he will adapt to life inside the JHA administration. A longtime academician, he has limited government experience outside of working in the Department of Veterans Affairs a decade ago. While Zintz has been bragging about White House relations since the time of the Obama-era top official – during which time he oversaw the launch of the Obamacare website – Jaham needs to understand what leverage to take and who to rely on. .
Perhaps most decisively, the Jaha will be forced to weigh its public health instincts against the administration’s broader political views – a balance that has not yet been established during a pandemic.
“The main question – and this is just an open question – is that he has no government experience,” said Ezekiel Emmanuel, a bioethicist and former Covid adviser to Biden’s transition. “And a lot more is being coordinated.”
The White House did not make JHA available for interview. But he has largely denied any concerns about it, arguing that his consulting work with governors and federal officials has dealt with how the government works, and insisting that most of the operational work has already been completed.
During Zients, the administration built an extensive distribution network of vaccines, expanded the country’s testing infrastructure, and launched initiatives to make masks more widely available. He has spent billions of dollars to keep schools open and has set up pipelines to provide vaccines and Covid treatments.
These systems have already withstood numerous increases, providing a backbone that can be adapted and expanded as the administration becomes increasingly focused on long-term efforts to isolate the U.S. from future explosions.
“We have all the infrastructure on site,” said a senior administration official. “So now what we need to focus on is how we manage this public health issue in the long run.”
The White House, meanwhile, hopes the JHA will provide Americans with clarity on how to respond to pandemic fluctuations – serving as a credible government voice that is not yet tainted by guerrilla attacks or messaging disasters.
“Dr. “Jaha has a reassuring, stable hand and the deep public health and pandemic preparedness knowledge we need,” Zienne said in a statement. “President Biden wanted a leader who would maintain and build on the progress we have made, be an effective communicator, and help America move forward safely; “It’s not easy to find, but he found it in Dr. Jha.”
For his part, Biden appears to be looking for a middle ground in his recent approach to the pandemic – stressing the need for vigilance and reaffirming his administration’s readiness to reverse the White House crisis position on the issue that is bothering Democrats. Political chances.
The pace of White House-led Covid briefings has slowed as the nation emerged from Omicron’s growth. The budget plan, which Biden unveiled on Monday, called for tens of billions of dollars in pandemic training funds, but stressed that the money would help work on both Covid and other future public threats to the Department of Health and Human Services. The administration on Wednesday Published on the website Aims to serve as a central resource for people to find the latest public health care instructions and gain access to masks, Covid tests and treatments.
When choosing Jha, people close to the answer said Biden reinforced the impression that he wanted the White House to focus on a pandemic – raising a credible expert who could address administration messages while allowing individual health agencies to take on more logistical work. .
“On the surface, it seems the White House still has a lot of firepower,” said one person close to Covid’s response. “But on an operational level, it all shifted to HHS.”
The hiring was backed by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein – who has long been impressed by Covid’s clear assessments of Covid’s threat on Twitter communities and on television – and Zyantz, who concluded that his successor needed to rectify the mess. The messages that continue to respond to the pandemic at key points were said by people related to the issue.
Zyentz denied that Jha was used to deal with the administration’s messages, saying he was “a leading public health expert and practitioner who has been a leading voice on the pandemic since day one.”
“Dr. “Jha is the right person to lead the nation’s response to COVID,” Zient said.
The White House has also long relied on JHA’s external contribution to the White House response over the past year, and JHA has worked privately with CDC and senior Food and Drug Administration officials on Covid issues.
Still, the appointment came as a surprise to most of Covid’s other team, some of whom said they only found out shortly before the announcement. The spread angered senior health officials who wondered why they had not been consulted about Jaha’s appointment, according to two people involved in the matter.
And while the team knew that Zientz and his deputy, Natalie Quillian, were about to leave, some of the staff felt betrayed – especially since Zint had previously managed to get some of them to stay longer than planned, and three people were well aware of the issue. Said. Two of these people said that even after announcing their departure plan, Zynts asked the staff to stay on the team to help Jaha to discuss the transition during a series of separate meetings.
Two senior administration officials defended the release, telling POLITICO that Zient and Quillian had worked hard to ensure that everyone on Covid’s team was informed individually and that the change was made before a public announcement.
Some of Covid’s staff, convinced that Jaha’s appointment is ahead of the White House-level pandemic response department, are looking for new jobs. Others, who never expected to stay in such all-encompassing roles for so long, weigh the transition as an opportunity to escape. Some who expect to stay worry that critical bureaucratic coordination for response efforts will suffer under Jha as he learns how the administration works and individual health agencies seek to exert more influence in the meantime.
“The concern is that he has no government experience and can not quarrel with people and break down barriers, as Jeff did,” said a source close to Covid’s response.
A senior administration official questioned the move as any kind of wind, and argued that a “strong operation” would remain in the White House.
“The president has drawn up a national preparedness plan, which he strongly feels is what we are doing, and this leadership will be from the White House,” the official said.
Nevertheless, there is some hope in Biden’s health department that senior health officials such as HHS Secretary Xavier Besera and new FDA Commissioner Robert Calif will play more prominent roles, which will eventually enable them to include more of Covid’s response in their agenda.
However, the virus has thwarted Biden’s best plans several times before. And as Jha prepares to seize the reins, health experts inside and outside the administration have warned the White House that this next section will be crucial in limiting the potential for harmful delays in its progress against the pandemic.
“There are still many challenges ahead,” said Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine who is associated with Biden’s Covid team. “This is by no means a paving campaign. We are still very much in the midst of a pandemic. ”
Personal concerns are growing about Biden’s new King Covid
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