Rochelle Walensky, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, promised to remove all political interference from the agency.
“On my first day, I will ask Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director, with 32 years of experience at the C.D.C., to begin a comprehensive review to ensure that all existing guidance related to COVID-19 is evidence-based and free of politics,” Walensky wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
She claimed that public trust in the agency has been damaged in the last year because “White House officials interfered with official guidance issued by the C.D.C.”
Two former political appointees to the CDC, Kyle McGowan and Amanda Campbell, have claimed that the Trump White House insisted on reviewing and often softening the CDC’s coronavirus guidance documents. Outside scientists have aired fears that the administration tampered with the agency’s recommendations.
Walensky also pledged to seek more funding for public health, saying that the pandemic has shown “how a frail, poorly tended public health infrastructure can bring a great country to its knees. Public health has been diminished and underfunded for years.”
Walensky is the chief of the infectious diseases division at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School. Biden nominated her to be the CDC’s director in early December.