Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaking at the White House, Wednesday: “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely . . . while we are implementing the criteria of the Advisory Committee and of the state and local guidances to get vaccination across these eligible communities, I would also say that safe reopening of schools is not — that vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.”
Notice no ifs, ands, buts, caveats, or uncertainty in Walensky’s statement.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, yesterday: “Dr. Walensky spoke to this in her personal capacity. Obviously, she’s the head of the CDC, but we’re going to wait for the final guidance to come out so we can use that as a guide for schools around the country.”
What absolute nonsense. The director of the CDC does not issue personal opinions about public health that contradict her agency’s official views. (If she did, that would be quite a story, and call into question whether she should remain as director of the CDC.) Walensky’s assessment is her assessment. There is no other secret different assessment lurking in the back somewhere.
We were told a million times that Joe Biden and his administration would listen to the experts and “SCIENCE!” and not allow political pressure to sway public-health policy. And the first time the CDC’s assessment contradicts a political ally of the Biden administration, Jen Psaki stands up there and tells people not to listen or heed the conclusion delivered at the exact same podium the day before.
No, Brian Stelter, this is not “refreshing.”