Rochelle Walensky to Step Down as CDC Director, "Another bio-rogue is fleeing the site of the crime"
Rochelle Walensky Stepping Down as CDC Director
By: Zachary Stieber
May 5, 2023 (Updated): The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is resigning.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky is stepping down at the end of June, the director told President Joe Biden in a letter, the CDC said on May 5.
Walensky, 54, did not cite a specific reason and the CDC did not return requests for comment. Walensky said she believes the CDC is in a better position now than when she assumed the post on Jan. 20, 2021, the same day Biden was inaugurated.
“The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency marks a tremendous transition for our country, for public health, and in my tenure as CDC director. I took on this role, at your request, with the goal of leaving behind the dark days of the pandemic and moving CDC—and public health—forward into a much better and more trusted place,” Walensky told Biden. “In the process, we saved and improved lives and protected the country and the world from the greatest infectious disease threat we have seen in over 100 years.”
During the first year of Walensky’s tenure, the United States recorded more COVID-19 deaths than the previous year, despite the aggressive promotion of COVID-19 vaccines. Walensky has been a fierce advocate of vaccination, urging parents to vaccinate their children and dismiss concerns about side effects like heart inflammation. She also urged people to get multiple boosters to try to combat waning effectiveness while downplaying natural immunity.
Before becoming the CDC’s director, Walensky was chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School.
The position of CDC director does not require Senate confirmation, unlike similar positions such as the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Biden administration officials have not identified potential replacements as of yet.
Some officials praised Walensky, asserting she’s done a good job.
Biden said in a statement that Walensky “has saved lives with her steadfast and unwavering focus on the health of every American” and that “we have all benefited from her service and dedication to public health, and I wish her the best in the next chapter.”
Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said Walensky “has been an extraordinary leader and a terrific partner.” But others said Walensky failed.
“She’s a failed CDC leader. I’ve never seen trust in American public health lower,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told The Epoch Times.
Polls show that Americans’ trust in the CDC has fallen during the pandemic.
“Whoever takes over is going to have will have a lot of work to do to restore trust in public health and the reputation of the CDC,” Bhattacharya added.
Image above: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford University and one of the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, in Hartford, Conn., on Feb. 17, 2023. (Tal Atzmon/The Epoch Times)
Walensky made the unsupported claim in the spring of 2021 while on television that people who had received COVID-19 vaccines “do not carry the virus” and “don’t get sick,” based on “real world data” and data from clinical trials. A few months later, the CDC urged vaccinated people to wear masks because of research indicating no differences in viral load, of the amount of virus a person carries after getting infected, between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Walensky said in April while testifying to Congress that the claim was correct when she made it.
But she cited no evidence, and her advisers were unable to provide any. They pointed to observational studies that indicated the vaccines reduced, but did not prevent, symptomatic infection and transmission.
The studies “all report observed reductions but none of them found that ‘vaccinated people do not carry the virus, do not get sick,’” Dr. Tracy Hoeg, an epidemiologist based in California, told The Epoch Times in a Twitter message. “Are they kidding? Seems delusional to come to that conclusion from those articles.”
Walensky has acknowledged some missteps and ordered a reorganization of the CDC after a review found it did not adequately respond to the pandemic. Walensky said the restructuring would be aimed at implementing an “action-oriented culture” that features improved accountability and communication.
The review will “ensure we have an even more effective CDC,” Jha said.
A major reform should be making sure outside voices are included in the conversation as CDC officials consider policies and guidance, according to Bhattacharya.
“And then in particular, it needs to consider the collateral consequences of this, the strategies and policies that are recommended,” he said. “That should not be just narrowly focused on one infectious disease and prevention of one infectious disease but more broadly. And I think that’s the central failure of the CDC.”
Support for Lockdowns
Walensky has also continued to support the lockdowns and mandates that were imposed in the United States even as new evidence has emerged to undercut them. “Extraordinary measures are necessary” when hospitals are overwhelmed, she said in one hearing.
The CDC largely issues non-binding recommendations that were cited in support of mask and vaccine requirements throughout the country, but has also promulgated binding policies such as mask mandates for airplanes. Some have been struck down by courts.
Asked if she was behind the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Walensky told a Senate panel this week that she was part of a group of advisers that advises Biden on his proclamations.
The administration is ending many of the remaining mandates on May 12, as the COVID-19 public health emergency expires. Several mandates, including one imposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, will remain in place.
Source: The Epoch Times