CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is departing at the end of June and Joe Biden has tapped former North Carolina health boss Dr. Mandy Cohen to replace her. More important than the identity of the CDC director is what goes on behind the scenes, and hints have been emerging.
In April of 2021, the CDC reassigned Dr. Nancy Messonnier, longtime director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). In a May 7, 2021 White House briefing, Walensky suddenly announced that Messonnier was stepping down.
“Dr. Messonnier has been a true hero,” Walensky told reporters. “And through her career, in terms of public health, she’s been a steward of public health for the nation. Over this pandemic and through a many-decade career, she’s made significant contributions, and she leaves behind a strong, strong force of leadership and courage in all that she’s done.”
Walensky neglected to mention Messonnier’s series of telebriefings in early 2020, conducted on January 17, January 24, January 29, January 30, February 3, February 5, February 12, February 25, and March 10.
In these sessions, not shown to the public, Messonnier warned that a “novel coronavirus” had emerged from the “Wuhan market” and the highly contagious new virus would “gain a foothold” in the United States. According to Messonnier, many people would be infected, and there was “no immunity.” Some reporters were curious about people traveling to the United States from Wuhan.
“That’s something I’m not at liberty to talk about today,” Messonnier said in the February 5 briefing, without revealing why that was so, or who was laying down the rules. On January 24, reporters who asked about China were told, “CDC has a team that’s been in China for many years where we work closely with the Department of Health in China.” There was information “from China” but Messonnier wasn’t giving it out.
“I think we should be clear to compliment the Chinese,” Messonnier said, “on the early recognition of the respiratory outbreak center in the Wuhan market, and how rapidly they were able to identify it as a novel coronavirus.” And so on, a veritable recitation of China’s talking points, but there was more to it.
In May of 2021, Walensky also failed to mention that “true hero” Nancy Messonnier was an officer of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), the CDC’s elite team of “disease detectives,” patrolling the world to prevent epidemics from arriving on American soil.
“EIS officers serve on the front lines of public health, protecting Americans and the global community,” the CDC claims. When diseases and public health threats emerge, “EIS officers investigate, identify the cause, rapidly implement control measures, and collect evidence to recommend preventive actions.”