Director of the CDC Rochelle Walensky is resigning at the end of the month, citing the end of the COVID-19 epidemic in her resignation letter released on Friday.
“I have never been prouder of anything I have done in my professional career,” Walensky, 54, wrote to President Biden, informing him that her last day will be June 30.
She said she had “mixed feelings” about stepping down, but that the end of emergency declarations related to pandemics seemed like a good time to do so.
The former infectious diseases expert from Harvard Medical School, who had no prior experience leading a government health body, has not been replaced with an interim director yet.
When it came to the Biden administration’s COVID reaction, including topics like school reopening, vaccine requirements, and mask demands, CDC Director Walensky came under fire.
Through documents obtained exclusively by The Post from government watchdog Americans for Public Trust, we now know that Walensky’s CDC allowed the American Federation of Teachers to suggest language for guidelines that kept schools closed for in-person learning months after studies showed children were at low risk of transmitting the virus in classes.
Former CDC Director Robert Redfield, who resigned months before Walensky took over, said that kids may safely return to classroom instruction.
“I think it’s really important to get our schools open,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in July 2020.
Also in 2021, Walensky was one of numerous Biden administration officials who erroneously stated that those who had received the COVID vaccination were immune to the virus.
Days later, the CDC director recanted, saying that “the evidence isn’t clear” and that she had been “speaking broadly.”
In the same year, the agency abandoned mask requirements, only to reinstate them a few months later.
In August of last year, Walensky admitted that she had made some “mistakes” during her time in office.
“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” she said in a statement.
The United States and the World Health Organization have both removed the COVID-19 pandemic from their lists of international health emergencies.
The number of deaths in the United States caused by the virus has dropped to its lowest point since the epidemic began.
White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said of Walensky in a statement: “Her creativity, skill and expertise, and pure grit were essential to our effective response and a historic recovery that made life better for Americans across the country.”