In the midst of Covid-19’s downgrading from a global emergency, the director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced her departure.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, 54, announced on Friday that she will leave her position as the head of the main public health organisation in the nation. On June 30, she will vacate the position.
In an email to the CDC, Walensky stated, “I took on this role with the goal of leaving behind the dark days of the pandemic and moving the CDC – and public health – into a much better and more trusted place.”
Walensky emailed staff shortly after President Joe Biden addressed her resignation.
‘She marshaled our finest scientists and public health experts to turn the tide on the urgent crises we’ve faced,’ stated Biden.
‘Dr Walensky leaves CDC a stronger institution, better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans.’
Earlier on Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the coronavirus is no longer considered a global emergency. The declaration came more than three years after millions of people were killed worldwide and widespread lockdowns hurt economies.
‘It’s with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,’ stated WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. ‘That does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat.’
Still, Tedros warned that new coronavirus variants could emerge and that the world is out of the emergency phase, but there have been a rise in cases in Southeast Asia as well as the Middle East.
Walensky in her resignation letter added: ‘The end of the Covid public health emergency marks a tremendous transition for our country, for public health, and in my tenure as CDC Director.’
She served just over two years as CDC director, during which the agency was entangled in various controversies.
In January, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) flagged severe deficiencies in how the CDC was being run and called for an overhaul.
‘The big picture here is, we all see the need for a reset of the agency,’ CSIS member and former CDC Director Julie Gerberding, told CNN at the time.
It was not immediately known who will take over the CDC director position.