Biden’s Covid turned Ashish Jha into the de facto White House doctor

Washington DC: In the hours after President Joe Biden contracted the coronavirus, Ashish Jha began soliciting advice on how to navigate the biggest moment of his short White House career.

As the administration’s Covid-19 response coordinator, Jha had more than enough experience talking to the public about the health consequences of the deadly, lingering pandemic. But this task was different. Now, he was being tapped to brief the nation on the status of the pandemic’s highest-profile patient.

Biden’s mild case has given Jha the high-profile example he needed to reassure the public that the vaccines and treatments driving the pandemic response are key to preventing serious illness. It’s a timely reinforcement of the government’s booster shot campaign. Even more notable, Jha has argued, it’s a validation of the White House view that Americans should get used to living with Covid-19 — and give Biden a lot more credit that they can do so in relative safety.

“While we have a very contagious variant out there, thanks to the president’s leadership, we have the ability to manage this,” Jha said during a press conference. “This virus is going to be with us forever.”

The briefing room stint wasn’t without its bumps, including persistent scrutiny over the White House’s refusal to provide access to Biden’s personal doctor, Kevin O’Connor. Jha has delivered that upbeat message relentlessly in his first three months on the job, even as fears mount that key elements of the pandemic fight are no longer going the White House’s way.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: ABC News)

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