CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to resign her position
Centers for Disease and Control Prevention Director Dr Rochelle Walensky announced that she would resign from her position after managing the agency throughout the first two years of the Biden administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden made a statement on Friday praising Dr Walensky upon her announcement: “Dr. Walensky has saved lives with her steadfast and unwavering focus on the health of every American. As Director of the CDC, she led a complex organization on the frontlines of a once-in-a-generation pandemic with honesty and integrity. She marshalled our finest scientists and public health experts to turn the tide on the urgent crises we’ve faced.”
Ms Walensky took the reins of the CDC as Mr Biden took office and began to marshal efforts to vaccinate much of the general public. During that time, she also oversaw the development of both the delta and omicron variants of Covid-19.
At the same time, she and the center received intense criticism for her management of the pandemic. In 2022, the American Medical Association criticised the center’s shortening the advice for quarantining from ten days to five days.
“A negative test should be required for ending isolation after one tests positive for COVID-19,” the association said in a statement early last year. “Reemerging without knowing one’s status unnecessarily risks further transmission of the virus.
Dr Walensky also received criticism when she said on Good Morning America that deaths from Covid-19 among vaccinated people “occurred in people who had at least four, so really these were people who were unwell to begin with.” She later apologised in a meeting with disability rights advocates. But many disability rights activists continued to criticise the administration’s policies.
Dr Walensky will reportedly step down by the end of June, The Associated Press reported.
Her announcement comes the same day the World Health Organisation announced that Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency.