The New Wave of COVID: A Conversation with Dr. Ashish Jha

Remote video URL

Early in July, a sharp decline in COVID-19 deaths fueled cautious optimism that the pandemic would no longer dominate our lives. Now, as students head back to school and more employees return to the workplace, new variants have emerged and cases, hospitalizations and deaths are steadily rising. While the numbers are far lower than at the height of the pandemic, that’s sparking concerns about a disruptive resurgence of COVID this fall and winter. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University and former White House COVID response coordinator, will update us on COVID’s current wave and its impact on vulnerable populations. How infectious are the new variants? Does a previous bout of COVID offer any protection or heighten the risk of serious or long-term complications from repeat infections? We’ll also discuss the latest research on long Covid, the effectiveness of the new booster for the current virus, and explore moves to strengthen pandemic preparedness and public health systems.

This webinar is free and made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, and The California Endowment.


Ashish Jha

Dr. Ashish Jha is a physician and the dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University. President Joe Biden appointed Jha as White House COVID-19 response coordinator in March 2022.  Jha led work that increased the development of and access to treatments and newly formulated vaccines, testing and surveillance, and helped design infrastructure to respond to current and future disease outbreaks more effectively. Before joining Brown, Jha was a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He was the faculty director of the Harvard Global Health Institute from 2014 until 2020, and has held other various leadership roles at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Jha has published nearly three hundred original research publications, and is a frequent media contributor. He was born in Pursaulia, Bihar, India in 1970. He moved to Toronto, Canada in 1979 and then to the United States in 1983. In 1992, Jha graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in economics. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1997 and trained as a resident in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He returned to Boston to complete his fellowship in general medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 2004, he completed his master of public health degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Fenit Nirappil

Fenit Nirappil is a reporter for The Washington Post's health and science team, covering public health, infectious diseases and LGBTQ issues. He joined the team in 2020 to cover the coronavirus pandemic. He previously spent five years on the local politics team covering D.C. government and politics, Virginia elections and government accountability. Before joining the Post, he covered the California state house for the Associated Press and the Portland suburbs for The Oregonian.