Top Biden Official Jeff Zients To Step Down As Admin Shifts Away From COVID-19

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden announced Thursday his administration’s lead on COVID-19, Jeff Zients, will be stepping down in April.

Biden thanked Zients for his work as COVID-19 coordinator, crediting his “decades of management experience” that aided in planning the delivery of “vaccines, tests, treatment, and masks to hundreds of millions of Americans.”

“Jeff spent the last 14 months working tirelessly to help combat COVID.  He is a man of service and an expert manager. I will miss his counsel and I’m grateful for his service,” Biden said in a statement.

Zients had been floated as a potential replacement for White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain in February, Politico reported.

Klain said “there was nothing inevitable about getting 215 [million] Americans” fully vaccinated, and that “America owes a debt of gratitude to Jeff Zients.”

Zients’ deputy Natalie Quillian will also be stepping down in April, CNN reported, citing a White House official.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, will replace Zients, Biden said in his nomination.

“Jha is one of the leading public health experts in America, and a well known figure to many Americans from his wise and calming public presence,” the statement read.

Zients’ departure coincides with the Biden admin shifting its messaging away from the COVID-19 pandemic. (RELATED: Kamala Harris’ Communications Director Resigns Amid Poor Polling Numbers, Criticism Of VP)

“Thanks to the progress we have made this past year, COVID-19 need no longer control our lives,” Biden said at his State of the Union address March 1. “We will continue to combat the virus as we do other diseases. And because this is a virus that mutates and spreads, we will stay on guard.”

The Senate passed a resolution March 3 to end the national COVID-19 emergency.