by Washington Examiner, August 02, 2021
It cannot be easy to lead the agency that handles infectious diseases in the midst of an international pandemic. Still, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should at least be able to prove she is up to the task. Dr. Rochelle Walensky has repeatedly proved herself unfit and unreliable. She needs to go.
This week, under her direction, the CDC changed its guidance to encourage fully vaccinated adults to put their masks back on in certain situations. This flip-flop is not based in science but in hysteria. Vaccinated adults are not at any more risk of falling seriously ill from the coronavirus and its variants now than they were two months ago when Walensky declared that there was no longer any reason for vaccinated adults to wear masks.
When pressed about the guidance change, Walensky blamed the unvaccinated, who now make up the majority of coronavirus cases and deaths. But this does not justify the CDC’s recent decision. Why should the vaccinated be punished for the bad decisions of the unvaccinated? The former people are safe from the virus and no longer need to worry. Walensky admitted as much herself.
Walensky, then, has eliminated one of the biggest incentives for getting vaccinated — freedom from such restrictions. This will make vaccine-hesitant people less likely to go out of their way to get the shot.
To make matters worse, Walensky also endorsed a vaccine passport system that would require people to prove they are fully vaccinated, or that they recently tested negative for the coronavirus, to gain access to public venues such as restaurants and bars.
These are both serious errors in judgment, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from Walensky. Back in March, she declared vaccinated people “do not carry the virus” at all. The next day, the CDC had to clarify that the data on this was not clear. And now we know that vaccinated persons can, in fact, transmit the virus, even though it is extremely unlikely that they will fall ill from it.
Perhaps her worst failure, however, was her wishy-washy approach to school reopenings. Walensky switched her position on whether social distancing in the classroom was necessary, not once, not twice, but three times. First, she said that three feet of social distancing would be sufficient. Then, it was six feet, and then back to three feet. She offered no scientific reasoning for any of these authoritative statements. That’s because she wasn’t following the science, but the teachers unions, which successfully bludgeoned Walensky into changing the CDC’s draft guidance on school reopenings.
Under Walensky’s guidance, the CDC has become untrustworthy, illogical, and prone to reversing itself based on political nonsense. Its guidance has changed so many times, often in spite of scientific data, that the public can hardly know what to believe. The CDC needs better leadership if it is to maintain even a shred of credibility, and Walensky has proven that she is incapable of using the power entrusted to her.