Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky has promised to improve the agency’s messaging on the coronavirus after taking a wave of criticism from various media outlets.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Walensky said the CDC should have been more forthcoming with the public about how rules and regulations could be subject to change depending on the evolution of the virus and the data collected.
“I think what I have not conveyed is the uncertainty in a lot of these situations,” Walensky said.
According to the WSJ, Walensky has been undergoing extensive media prep and has been coached by a media consultant ahead of several public briefings she plans to hold in the coming future.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) took a wave of criticism when it recently announced that people who test positive for the coronavirus can exit quarantine after just five days without a negative test if they show mild to no symptoms. Health experts believed the decision stemmed from a shortage in tests largely due to the Biden administration’s lack of preparation.
“CDC’s new guidance to drop isolation of positives to 5 days without a negative test is reckless,” tweeted Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and chief scientific officer at eMed. “I absolutely don’t want to sit next to someone who turned [positive] five days ago and hasn’t tested [negative].”
Likewise, Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital, told NPR that the new guidelines were an “example of scarcity determining policy.”
Walensky told the WSJ that the new guidelines were based on “more than 100 papers about the risks presented by variants including Alpha and Delta, drawing on research conducted before Omicron spread across the world.”
“We felt the need to take action before we had Omicron-specific data,” she said.
On Monday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) told Fox News that the CDC should replace Rochelle Walensky with “someone who is compassionate, who is consistent, and where the messaging is clear.”
“We need someone who’s going to really help make sure that we have testing for everyone, that we have masks for everyone, that we’re getting that done,” said Khanna.