When transportation turned a barrier to vaccination, Mr. Zients persuaded the chief executives of Uber and Lyft to offer free rides, mentioned Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, who suggested the White Home on racial fairness points. When lack of kid care and trip go away turned obstacles, he persuaded day care facilities to supply free care and corporations to supply free time without work.
“I may name him any time of the day or night time and say, ‘This can be a downside, we’ve obtained to unravel for this,’” she mentioned. “Jeff’s job all day was fixing for this.”
Critics have mentioned Mr. Zients, who made a fortune constructing two consultancies and taking them public, was an odd decide to run the pandemic response given his lack of expertise in public well being. However his previous work touched on well being care, each because the chief government of the Advisory Board Firm, a well being care consultancy, and within the Obama administration, the place he ran the trouble to repair the healthcare.gov web site.
Through the surge of instances — and deaths — this winter, some blamed Mr. Zients for failing to do sufficient to forestall them, notably when the extremely transmissible Omicron variant caught the administration unprepared. Some supporters of Mr. Biden — notably these on the Democratic left — have been overtly disdainful of each Mr. Zients and Mr. Klain.
“We wished this to be run as a scientific operation; it’s being run as a administration consultancy,” Gregg Gonsalves, a longtime AIDS activist and epidemiologist at Yale College, mentioned in an interview in January. “Ron Klain and Jeff Zients are the fallacious folks to be the place the buck stops on this.”
In January, The American Prospect, a liberal web site, printed an article titled “Fire Jeff Zients” that mentioned he had “confirmed himself lower than the duty, and Biden ought to relieve him of his duties.”
Mr. Zients was not at all times capable of see round corners. In June, he declared that the nation was “entering a summer of joy, a summer of freedom,” not lengthy after the Delta variant hammered India, and because it hit Britain. When it took maintain in the US over the summer time, instances and deaths skyrocketed.