Who is Rochelle Walensky: Background, What Does She Warn of Covid-19 Surge?
|Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, chief of the division of infectious diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, was designated to director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).|
Who is Rochelle Walensky?
Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, is the 19th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ninth Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. She is an influential scholar whose pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS. Dr. Walensky is also a well-respected expert on the value of testing and treatment of deadly viruses.
Dr. Walensky served as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017-2020 and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012-2020. She served on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted research on vaccine delivery and strategies to reach underserved communities.
Dr. Walensky is recognized internationally for her work to improve HIV screening and care in South Africa and nationally recognized for motivating health policy and informing clinical trial design and evaluation in a variety of settings.
She is a past Chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health, Chair-elect of the HIV Medical Association, and previously served as an advisor to both the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Originally from Maryland, Dr. Walensky received her Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, her Doctor of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and her Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
|Five Things About Rochelle Walensky: |
1. She is highly educated.
2. She is both a researcher and a physician.
3. Communication is one of her strengths.
4. The “full package.”
5. One role that has prepared her well.
What did she urge against Covid-19 pandemic in the US?
Dr. Rochelle Walensky is sounding the alarm over a possible fourth surge in COVID-19 cases as health experts deem Massachusetts among the "areas of greatest concern." According to NBC Boston.
The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to "just hold on a little longer," Monday. When cases rise as they have over the last week or so, Walensky said, they often "surge and surge big" shortly thereafter.
Walensky pointed to an uptick in travel and loosening virus restrictions for the 10% increase in U.S. cases over the last week. Meanwhile, Massachusetts is among the "areas of greatest concern," according to health experts.
“People want to be done with this. I, too, want to be done with this,” the former chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital said.
"When you're coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau, you're really in danger of a surge coming up," Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said in an interview with "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "And unfortunately, that's what we're starting to see."
Walensky said new cases were stagnating, but there has been a steady rise, now between 60,000 and 70,000 new infections per day, over the last week, which could lead to a larger spike.
The CDC director added that some states are opening up at levels not recommended by public health officials, and she plans to speak with governors Tuesday to urge them to "buckle down on trying to refrain from opening up too fast."
The Biden administration has worked to ramp up the pace of vaccinations by sending doses directly to retail pharmacies and community health centers. More than 93 million Americans have received at least one dose of their shots, and 51.5 million are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Still, Andy Slavitt, the White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, stressed during the briefing that people need to continue following public health measures as more shots are administered.
"It will be race between a vaccine and what's going on with the dynamics of the outbreak," he said.
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