CDC director Rochelle Walensky to step down in June


Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky departs after testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on the All-Hazards Preparedness Act at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday, May 4, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced Friday that she would step down at the end of June, ending a tenure marked by repeated changes to adapt to an evolving coronavirus crisis.

Walensky did not provide a specific reason for his departure, but noted in a letter to President Joe Biden that the United States is emerging from the Covid-19 response emergency.

“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,” Walensky said. written in the letter.

“I took on this role, at your request, in an effort to put the dark days of the pandemic behind me and move the CDC – and public health – forward to a much better and more trusted place,” he said. she declared.

Biden, in a statement, thanked Walensky for his service.

“Dr. Walensky leaves the CDC with a stronger institution better positioned to address health threats and protect Americans,” the president said.

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Walensky took over as head of the battered agency in early 2021 as the United States rolled out its Covid vaccination campaign. She led the public health agency as the national response to the pandemic faced repeated setbacks from the emergence of the delta and omicron variants.

The US public health emergency will end on Thursday. The World Health Organization on Friday declared the end of the global Covid health emergency.

Walensky acknowledged in August 2022 that the CDC’s response to the pandemic was inadequate. She launched a reorganization that aimed to speed up the agency’s response to disease threats and improve its communication of health advice to the public.

But 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.

Walensky also helped lead the US response to the sudden mpox outbreak in the summer of 2022.

She led the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School before joining the Biden administration. Walensky is an HIV expert.

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