After only four weeks, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who took to the national airwaves in March to scare the American people into following CDC guidance, went from having a feeling of “impending doom” about the coronavirus pandemic to feeling pretty good about where the country is now.
What did she say?
Just a month ago, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky made headlines by announcing that she was “scared” about she was seeing on the coronavirus horizon.
In what was a (clearly scripted) unscripted moment, Walenesky went out of her way to urge fellow Americans to “sound the alarm” to everyone over what she called her feeling of “impending doom” over reports of upticks in a handful of states’ COVID cases.
During her March 29 presser, the CDC chief said she was going to share the truth that might not be news the people want to hear, adding, “I have to hope and trust you will listen.”
“I’m gonna lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she told reporters. “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,” she said.
Now she’s singing a different tune.
The CDC announced new face mask guidance Tuesday saying that fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks outdoors or even indoors in some cases.
Fully vaccinated people, the CDC said, can gather outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and can also gather indoors without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart.
What about the ‘impending doom’?
During the agency’s announcement, the New York Times asked Walensky about the guidelines and her sense of “impending doom.”
The director revealed that her feeling of doom had subsided and that “we should be in good shape”:
You know, several weeks ago, when I had this feeling of impending doom and I articulated that and I had, you know, case races going — rates going up, vaccines — vaccinations growing, but not where we needed to be, and — and deaths continuing to climb, as I look at the curve now, it’s stabilizing; it’s coming down.
The vaccinations have continued to grow in an extraordinary way. I think we really do need to get more and more people vaccinated. As Kristen noted, we need to, sort of, combat the hesitancy that is out there, meet people where we — where they are, and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.
But as I see more vaccines getting into people’s arms, more and more people being willing to do so, confidence increasing, and then I match that with the — the cases that are starting to stabilize, plateau, and come down, as well as Dr. Fauci’s slides that demonstrate when the other countries have been a little bit ahead of us and shown that when those vaccinations continue to soar and the cases plummet, that we should be in good shape.
04/27/21: Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials