CDC’s Rochelle Walensky Admits She’s Done A Poor Job Communicating About COVID-19
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky admitted that her agency’s done a poor job of communicating in recent weeks as the Omicron variant continues to surge in the United States.
“One year into her tenure as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky acknowledges that she should have communicated certain things better to the American public,” The Wall Street Journal said of an interview with her. “She says the pandemic threw curveballs that she should have anticipated. She thinks she should have made it clearer to the public that new rules and guidelines were subject to change if the nature of the fight against Covid-19 shifted again.”
Walensky said, “I think what I have not conveyed is the uncertainty in a lot of these situations.”
Walensky said she is committed to “communicating CDC policy more clearly” and that she is being coached by a media consultant and is prepared to hold more media briefings in addition to those held at the White House.
There was a great deal of confusion over the CDC’s guidance on whether those who test positive for COVID with or without symptoms should be isolating and for how long.
“If you’re positive—you should probably stay at home,” Walensky said. “But a negative—that doesn’t mean you’re not contagious. And we needed to be very clear about that.”
The CDC director said she has the support of the Biden administration to improve the agency’s data collection, saying fewer than 200 health facilities across the country had their electronic health records linked to the CDC.
“At the start of the pandemic, some states that were unable to electronically report positive COVID-19 cases had to fax PCR results to the CDC, she said. “Some states were entering positive results first because they didn’t have the capacity to enter all the negative ones, she said, so the CDC initially received a skewed view of what fraction of the population was positive.”
“Tens of thousands of facilities have upgraded their electronic record-keeping during the pandemic, in part using federal funding,” she said. “There is still a long way to go, modernizing public-health data infrastructure for the federal government and 3,050 state and local health departments would cost about $30 billion over 10 years, the nonprofit Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said recently.”
“This will not end with COVID… This is not a one-and-done effort,” Walensky added.