Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced her resignation on Friday, effective at the end of June. She did not provide a specific reason for her departure but mentioned that the US is transitioning out of the emergency of the Covid-19 response. In a letter to President Joe Biden, Walensky wrote, “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.” She also stated that she took on this role with the goal of leaving behind the dark days of the pandemic and moving the CDC and public health forward into a much better and more trusted place.
Biden Thanks Walensky for Her Service
The US public health emergency will end on Thursday, and the World Health Organization declared an end to the global Covid health emergency on Friday. In a statement, President Biden thanked Walensky for her service and said that she leaves the CDC a stronger institution better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans.
Walensky took over the CDC in early 2021 as the US was rolling out its Covid vaccination campaign. She led the public health agency while the national pandemic response faced repeated setbacks from the emergence of the delta and omicron variants. Walensky also helped lead the US response to the sudden outbreak of mpox in the summer of 2022.
Despite Walensky’s efforts to reorganize the agency, the CDC still struggles to respond to public health threats due to limited authority in the face of a fragmented healthcare system. The agency will have less data to track Covid and new variants when the public health emergency expires because it cannot compel states to report this information.
In conclusion, Walensky’s tenure as the CDC director was marked by repeated change to adapt to an evolving coronavirus crisis. Her resignation comes at the end of the Covid-19 response emergency, and she leaves the CDC a stronger institution better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans.
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