Rochelle Walensky: Not With a Bang but a Puddle of Tears

Rochelle Walensky: Not With a Bang but a Puddle of Tears 1

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Rochelle Walensky is ending her sorry tenure as Director of the CDC with an admission of failure: crying at the staff meeting announcing her exit. And the Biden Administration isn’t trying to cover for her apparent defenestation: an abrupt announcement (albeit with an “in control of her destiny” end date of June 30), no nice speech and analogue to a gold watch, no fawning or at least supportive press stories. A tell came in the Washington Post: White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, who the Post depicted as having been frustrated with her when he was Covid coordinator, had met with her earlier in the year to discuss her future with the Administration. ‘Nuff said. If she’d been doing a good job at the CDC, there would be every reasons to keep her on.

The current pervasive and pathetic weakness among senior bureaucrats and soi disant political leaders is a weird impediment to working up the lava-hot fury warranted for the colossal harm they’ve inflicted. During and after the financial crisis, your truly and others ran the register on outrage against its gallery of rogues like Timothy Geithner, Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, HUD chief Shuan Donovan, and their media enablers such as Andrew Ross Sorkin and Adam Davidson.

Te financial crisis arsonists as rescuers at least projected competence and were working to exhaustion trying to patch up failing finance machinery. By contrast, we called out Walensky as not being up to her job at the outset (see The CDC’s Mission Impossible). There’s no evidence she’d managed anything much bigger than her desk before becoming head of a 21,000 person agency. She was touted as “head of infectious diseases” at the prestigious Mass General. But Mass General org charts, which show an impressively large number of boxes for units, didn’t one for “infectious diseases” or anything remotely like that. So this appears to have been a title for grant-soliciting purposes, and not an operating role. Perhaps she did run some studies where she oversaw large teams. That’s not the same as running a large or even medium sized unit, where you have to worry about things like policy, long-term objectives, staff recruitment and development, budgets, and turf wars.1

Walensky played a major role, arguably larger Anthony Fauci, in destroying faith in public health and vaccines in particular. Walensky lead the agency tasked with collecting data about diseases and drug performance, particularly vaccines. That included, critically, the now-infamous VAERS, where IM Doc reported at length examples of non-medically trained administrators rejecting his reports (including of a vaccine death) and second-hand reports from colleagues and former students of similar rejections.2 Because IM Doc had been on the front lines during the early AIDS outbreak, had a father who was a public health official and was Mind you, this came despite promising to do better on the transparency front. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, based on an exclusive interview:

The CDC will hold regular press briefings, release current data, and will announce changes in recommendations, said Dr. Walensky, who is moving on Friday to Atlanta, where the CDC is based. “There will be way more communication, the science will be out there,” she said.

But Walensky herself later admitted to not even reviewing critical underlying data. From early March 2022:

From IM Doc via e-mail:

This is the classic example of the final common pathway of the “evidence-based medicine” approach and how it can go really bad. This is the kind of thinking I will never let a student get away with. But it is so commonplace in our era of EBM. Big Pharma does all the number work – we just repeat. Anything in a journal or on TV is fully vetted evidence. No thinking needed. The hard work of really crunching numbers is no longer valued.

This, however, is not a student. This is the director of the CDC. I am overwhelmed with rage.

”When the CNN feed came with it was 95% effective, so many of us wanted it to be helpful, so many of us wanted to say, “this is our ticket out”.

The CNN feed? Are you kidding me? The CDC director is relying on the CNN feed to alert her to one of the most monumental medical issues in history? And the 95% effective part? Did the CDC director not go to the source documents and do the research herself. I certainly did. Even at this late date, does the CDC director not understand the concept of a relative risk reduction and its limitations. Would the CDC director like to acknowledge how many of my colleagues were censored or timed out by Facebook and Twitter for spreading vaccine misinformation because they were simply trying to alert their patients and friends that the media was grossly misreporting what the 95% meant. And while they were censoring those who were competent, she tells us all in this clip, “we had too little caution and too much optimism…”

This is every bit as bad as it looks. Walensky didn’t even task a subordinate to look at the research and give her a write-up. And the worst is she clearly has no idea how bad this makes her look, that she was perfectly willing to base her campaign on cherry-picked Big Pharma data laundered though the media.3

It’s hard to know where to begin with the litany of horrors that can be pinned on Walensky, as opposed to the “all in on vaccines” Biden strategy devised before she stepped into the CDC role (although she implicitly accepted that). Walensky clearly and loudly propagated they myth that getting vaccinated prevented infection and therefore contagion. Here you see her encouraging super-spreading over Memorial Day:

Even worse, she was all-in with the demonization of the unvaccinated, and attributed mask-wearing (a continued important precaution regardless) with an admission of being among the sinning, and presumed dangerous unvaxxed by depicting continued mask wearing as a scarlet letter:

And one wag added re Walensky’s dig:

And let us not forget, that Walensky went all in with the Biden Administration early May 2022 “Mission Accomplished” which included telling the vaccinated to take off their masks and go out and spread Covid. She has to reverse that within two months when the CDC discovered that the viral load for Delta for the vaccinated and unvaccinated was virtually the same, which the CDC took as a proxy for how contagious they would be. The CDC tried to reverse gears and recommend masking, but after having been lukewarm about it and then treating it as unnecessary, the public was in no mood for advice flip-flops.

And that’s before getting to the CDC fail on recommending proper mask wearing, and for Delta and Omicron, the need for at least a KN95 and better yet, an N95. NYC cabs were full of signs showing proper mask wearing. By contrast, when my mother was hospitalized before death over Christmas 2021, I saw non-mask wearing doctors, nurses wearing masks below their noses, and her MD pulling his mask down to speak to her when she had COPD and was on oxygen.

Walensky was also all in on misrepresenting vaccine efficacy. She never questioned mandates based on the false premise that the vaccinated could not spread the virus.4 Neither she nor anyone in the public health officialdom acknowledged that getting Covid also conferred some short term immunity, which per the UK’s large scale REACT population surveys before there were any vaccines (as in a clean control) showed disease-conferred immunity to be about as durable as the immunity from the initial round of shots.5

During much of the Covid crisis, she worked at home, in Newton, and apparently didn’t even visit CDC headquarters in Atlanta regularly. She got Covid and didn’t work for 17 days…after the CDC had shortened its “isolate at home” recommendation for Covid cases from 10 days to 5, despite the disease having failed to decide to shorten its period of contagiousness for the benefit of American business.


1 We did point out then:

Some people step up successfully to battlefield promotions. A high profile example was when Elizabeth Warren started up the CFPB. There was nothing in her background to suggest that she could execute an administrative task of that magnitude, let alone in six months. But this is an even bigger skill jump.

2 Because IM Doc had been on the front lines during the early AIDS outbreak, had a father who was a public health official and was active in commenting on news and research, and particularly the misdeeds of the CDC, I mined his e-mails for the to find the low points of Walensky’s tenure. There was so much material a great deal was left on the cutting room floor.

3 Recall that the 95% efficacy was not against infection but against “serious disease” and death. Those were not end points for the clinical trial. The focus on that measure is an admission the vaccines underperformed on the original targets.

4 Recall, for instance, NYC opening restaurants and bars to the vaccinated, and businesses requiring either the presentation of a vaccine card or mask-wearing.

5 Antibody levels in the REACT surveys suggested pretty good immunity for at least six months; the carefully-kept data in Israel, a Pfizer monoculture, showed real world immunity of five to six mo

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