The CDC’s Rochelle Walensky resigns amid downplaying of the COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK – Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Head of Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsubmitted his resignation on Friday, saying the transition of the COVID-19 pandemic was a good time to make changes.

Walensky’s last day will be June 30, CDC officials said, and an interim director was not immediately named. He sent a letter of resignation to President Joe Biden and announced the decision at a CDC staff meeting.

Walensky, 54, has been the agency’s director for more than two years. In her letter to Biden, she expressed “mixed feelings” about the decision and did not explain why she was stepping down, but said the nation was at a moment of transition as emergency declarations ended.

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“I have never been more proud of what I have accomplished in my professional career,” he wrote.

World Health Organization said on Friday that COVID-19 no longer qualified as a global emergencyand US public health emergency declaration ends next week, Deaths in the US are at their lowest level since the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020.

CDC, with a budget of $12 billion and over 12,000 employees. is an Atlanta-based federal agency charged with protecting Americans from disease outbreaks and other public health threats.

Walensky, previously an infectious-disease specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, had no experience running a government health agency when she was sworn in on the first day of the Biden administration.

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She came with a reputation as a prominent voice on the pandemic, sometimes criticizing certain aspects of how the government was responding. She was brought in to boost morale at the CDC, rebuild public trust in the agency, and improve its sometimes faltering response to the pandemic.

She launched a center for forecasting and outbreak analysis, took steps to modernize data and reform the public health workforce. Last year, she launched a reorganization to make the agency more nimble and improve communication with the public.

But there have been many stumbling blocks during his tenure.

In the spring of 2021, Walensky said fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks in many settings, only to reverse course as the then-new Delta variant spread. And in December 2021, the agency’s decision to shorten the isolation and quarantine period surprised many and caused confusion.

White House Chief of Staff Jeff Gentz ​​praised her performance in a statement.

“Their creativity, skill and expertise, and pure grit were essential to our effective response and a historic recovery that improved life for Americans across the country,” Zients said.

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