Jeffrey Zients Has One Job, Just One Job

And it’s not clear to me why he should be ‘COVID czar’ any longer. I don’t blame him for Omicron, but for a shitty response to Delta. If we had a better response to Delta, or at least learned from it, we would have been better positioned for Omicron. Not only did Delta surge once, but following a modest decline nationally, it started surging again in early November (and that surge was not Omicron at that point in time). The administration gambled that vaccination by itself would work against Delta–and I think eventually it might have–but they had no backup plan, no contingency planning. For reasons that are still unclear (at least officially), the administration never ramped up test production capacity, lowered testing cost, or increased mask distribution–and Biden promised the latter as part of his presidential campaign.

That is the COVID czar’s job: to cover the contingencies, to plan for the worst. Instead, we have to witness the sorry spectacle of people in public health having to develop a ‘least worst’ policy (e.g., not requiring testing after isolation because there aren’t enough fucking tests). If his approach had worked, fine, he gets the glory. But it was failing before Omicron.

Time for Zients to go.

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