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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is under fire since admitting that their COVID-19 pandemic response had shortcomings that run deep through the culture in the organization, from confused messaging to delays in public health education to delays in releasing the science itself.
She told me in an exclusive interview for Fox News August 19, that, “what I told our agency is on that path to the finish line towards publication. We need to stop and pull over. We need to show our work. We need to inform policymakers. We need to update things along the way as we proceed to that finish line. We need practical, timely recommendations that take early peeks of the data and adjust along the way.”
She emphasized that she said from the beginning and still believes that the COVID-19 vaccines are the key to keeping kids in school — including the unvaccinated. “One of the first things I said as vaccinations were rolling out with some controversy was that we did have a capacity to get our kids back to school, even if our teachers, even if everybody wasn’t vaccinated. So, this was always part of our vision to be able to get back to school and to get safely back to school.”
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She did acknowledge as well the supervening role that politics plays in overwhelming public health, no matter how humble you are or how accurate. “It’s frustrating when people are making health-based decisions through a political lens. We’ve done everything that we can, and I continue to put my head down to steer the ship.”
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I believe that Walensky is an accountable strong public health leader. She has a great track record as an infectious disease and public health leader.
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But it remains to be seen if she can steady the ship at CDC through the rough waters of pandemic and politics.
Fox News Field Producer Laura Prabucki contributed to this piece.
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