The White House announced last week that Dr. Rochelle Walensky will be leaving her post as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has led the agency since the start of the Biden administration and guided its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That effort has been less than stellar.
Despite the fact that, by the time Biden entered office, much about the new disease had been elucidated, treatment protocols had been refined, and the FDA had authorized new vaccines and treatments that were already being distributed, almost two-thirds of the nation’s COVID deaths occurred under the Biden administration’s watch. Throughout the pandemic, the CDC’s communications efforts were confusing and ever-changing, and many of its actions appeared to be politically motivated. While Walensky and other administration officials urged people to “follow the science,” they ended up undermining public trust in science and the previously highly respected agency.
One year into her tenure, Dr. Walensky acknowledged that “I think what I have not conveyed is the uncertainty in a lot of these situations.” Later in 2022, Dr. Walensky announced an effort to review and reform the CDC in light of the agency’s poor pandemic performance.