The C.D.C.’s New Leader Follows the Science. Is That Enough?


“I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she stated, her eyes glistening with tears. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now I’m scared.”

Her impassioned speech startled many individuals, maybe none greater than her husband. “She’s not a crier — if anything, I get choked up much more easily than she does,” he stated. Her openness signaled her “genuine anguish” concerning the state of the pandemic, he added. “She deeply felt the weight of a half a million dead.”

The day of her pressing plea, she appeared on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the place she stated vaccinated individuals “do not carry the virus” — a very optimistic assertion that the C.D.C. had to walk back. Later that week, new steering from the company stated that vaccinated individuals might safely travel, however Dr. Walensky added that the company didn’t really need them to journey in any respect, a stance that left some Americans perplexed.

The most up-to-date occasion, when Dr. Walensky introduced that vaccinated individuals might go mask-free indoors, was supported by the most recent analysis, scientists stated. But many felt the company had rushed the choice to finish masks use with out contemplating elements of the nation the place infections had been nonetheless excessive, and with out greedy the distrust and tradition clashes the brand new recommendation would engender.

“C.D.C. got the medical and epidemiological science right, but what they did not get right was the behavioral science, the communications and working collaboratively with other stakeholders,” Dr. Gounder stated. “That was a big oversight.”

Data because the announcement appear to have proved Dr. Walensky appropriate: Infections are nonetheless declining, at the same time as a lot of the nation reopens at a vigorous tempo. And as promised, the company has set about issuing extra sensible masking steering concerning settings like summer season camps (principally no) and public transportation (sure).

Dr. Walensky and the C.D.C. declined to touch upon how the masks suggestions had been dealt with. But Dr. Fauci stated that he believed some small missteps had been inevitable, and that Dr. Walensky was a fast examine.

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