During an interview with ABC News on Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky repeatedly refused to say whether she agrees with President Joe Biden’s assessment that the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Host Terry Moran asked, “Dr. Walensky, what was your reaction when you heard President Biden say the pandemic is over, and what do you think of that?”
Walensky responded, “You know, here’s what I can tell you, we’re in a different place. Schools are open and businesses are open. We have a lot of population immunity out there right now. We have a lot of protection from vaccination already. Deaths are still at 350 a day, but they are way lower than they were a year ago, two years ago at this time. So, we are continuing to do everything we can promoting these updated booster shots so that people can get the protection that they need, but recognizing that we are in a much better place than we were a year ago at this time.”
Moran then asked, “But the pandemic is not over, from your perspective?”
Walensky responded, “Well, we continue to encourage people to do all the things that they can do to protect themselves. We have the tools right now to protect yourself. You can get your primary series, if you haven’t yet gotten it. You can get your updated fall bivalent vaccine. And then, should you actually get [infected], we have tools like Paxlovid so that you can protect yourself against severe disease, hospitalization, and death. So, I think, as we look at the big picture, things are very different. Our hospitals are not overwhelmed, people are back to work, schools are open again. I think those are really and critically important metrics.”
Later, Walensky discussed how the CDC needs to do a better job communicating with the public.
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