Rochelle Walensky struggles to communicate
Dr. Rochelle Walensky Iis the 19th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, known primarily for her work in infectious disease control. Specifically, his work on AIDS and HIV has helped improve testing and care in South Africa.
“This top-notch, world-renowned agency hasn’t really been appreciated over the past four years and really noticeably over the past year,” she told the Journal of the American Medical Association in early 2021. “I have to fix this.”
Yet that plan seemed to falter somewhat.
During his first year in office, Walensky participated in media training after several months of missteps, attempting to improve his communication skills.
On January 7, Walensky joined hello america to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on reported deaths.
In the interview, Walensky said nearly 40% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital did not come for reasons relating to the virus. She added that more than 75% of deaths were in people with “at least four comorbidities” and were “sick to begin with”.
However, Walensky’s brief statement led news sites to claim that the CDC actively peddled a conspiracy theory and made remarks that inadvertently downplayed the number of disabled deaths. In fact, the entire video demonstrated that Walensky specified that 75% of deaths involved vaccinated persons. Unfortunately, many have misinterpreted the claim.
CNN released a “fact check” shortly after.
“The complete images, which hello america released hours after the controversy erupted on Monday proves that Walensky was specifically talking about a small number of deaths that have been described in a new federal study,” CNN said.
The study examined risk factors for serious consequences of COVID-19 in 1.2 million vaccinated people aged 18 and over. It found that people aged 65 and over who had other health conditions such as immunosuppression and diabetes were associated with higher risks of serious COVID-19-related outcomes. She concluded that all people with severe effects after a primary vaccination had at least one risk factor. Of the 36 people who died, 28 (or 78%) had existing health conditions.
In a separate interview with Fox News correspondent Bret Baier, Walensky was asked if the 836,000 deaths in the United States would be separated by those who died “from” or “with” the virus.
“Yes, of course, with omicron we are following this very closely,” she confirmed. Walensky said the death register takes a few weeks to collect, but the data would be forthcoming. However, the CDC did not follow up and the CDC communications department did not respond to Washington Examiner request for clarification.
the hello america the interview was followed by a telebriefing, one of the first in months. In 2021, there were only two telebriefings, unlike the 24 in 2020.
Walensky and the CDC have come under heavy criticism after the CDC released the new quarantine guidelines in recent weeks. A lack of communication and periodic adjustments to COVID-19 procedures have led public health experts to call for more consistent direction from the agency.