Rochelle Walensky to Step Down as CDC Director
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced Friday that she will leave the agency at the end of June, thanking Pres. Biden for her appointment to the position in her resignation letter.
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced Friday that she will leave the agency at the end of June, thanking Pres. Biden for her appointment to the position in her resignation letter.1
- During her tenure, Walensky oversaw the administration of over 670M COVID vaccine doses and provided guidance on social distancing and mask-wearing.2
- She didn't explain why she was stepping down other than that the nation is at a moment of transition as the US COVID public health emergency is set to end next week and the WHO said Friday that COVID is no longer a global emergency.3
- Biden, who selected Walensky to lead the CDC in December 2020 to replace Trump-appointed Dr. Robert Redfield, said, "We have all benefited from her service and dedication to public health, and I wish her the best in her next chapter."4
- Her tenure didn't come without criticism, notably when she said in the spring of 2021 that fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks before reversing course when the COVID delta variant emerged. The agency's decision to shorten quarantine lengths also caught many off guard.3
- Before joining the CDC, Walensky, who trained at Johns Hopkins University before joining Harvard, led the infectious diseases division at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was noted for work on healthcare policy, particularly HIV.2
Sources: 1FOX News, 2New York Times, 3Breitbart, and 4ABC News.
- Democratic narrative, as provided by The White House. Using her expertise, courage, and leadership, Walensky saved many American lives during the unprecedented time of her tenure. She took a complex organization and geared it toward the sharp, focused goal of leading the country out of the darkness of the pandemic and into a post-COVID future. Every American should be grateful for Walensky's service to the American public.
- Republican narrative, as provided by FOX News. Walensky was an unacceptable public health leader, and the proof is shown through the wild inconsistency of messaging to Congress and the American people. After her claim that "vaccinated people do not carry the virus, they do not get sick" was proven false, she defended herself by arguing that that's what the data showed at the time. This was just one of many issues, including not listening to parents, that caused deep frustration for the American people.
- Cynical narrative, as provided by Washington Post. Walensky's time as CDC director exemplified the disorganized, mechanical, and often detached nature of America's public health system. She was often at odds with both Republicans and the Biden admin., leaving no encouraging legacy as she steps down from the position. We don't know who will replace her, but hopefully, it's someone competent enough to whip the agency and the national public health apparatus into shape and restore more respect for human life.