Outgoing CDC Director Walensky Evades Accountability In Final Testimony

Former CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently made her final appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, leaving many crucial questions unanswered and a trail of frustrating ambiguity behind her.

Her term, marked by widespread lockdowns, alleged censorship of valid criticisms, and a less than stellar handling of data collection practices, has drawn the ire of many, especially those who value individual liberties and free speech. During the hearing, GOP lawmakers brought these concerns to the fore, seeking to hold her accountable for various issues, including controversial comments on Covid-19 vaccines and the alleged undue influence of teachers’ unions over school protocols.

The Twitter Files, brought to light thanks to Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform, showed evidence of a close relationship between the government and social media companies. These files suggested that the companies may have cooperated to silence factual information that didn’t align with the official narrative. When Rep. James Comer (R-KY) questioned Walensky about this issue, she sidestepped the question, citing ongoing litigation.

Equally concerning were Walensky’s dismissive responses to inquiries about her agency’s alleged First Amendment violations in its war on “misinformation.” GOP representatives voiced their concern about the CDC’s promotion of controversial views as absolute truths, such as vaccines’ total safety and transmission-stopping capacity, which have since been proven false.

Walensky has a knack for dancing around direct questions from elected representatives. This raises an essential question about these public hearings – what’s the point if the witnesses can prevaricate and avoid providing clear yes or no answers?

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attempted to probe Walensky about the contentious issue of gain-of-function research. This topic has raised important questions about the pandemic’s origins. Instead of answering, Walensky deflected the question towards the National Institutes of Health, an entity outside her jurisdiction.

When quizzed about her plans by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Walensky kept her cards close to her chest, claiming she has no plans after she departs from the CDC. Her evasion appears dubious, given the widespread speculation of a possible move to a multinational pharmaceutical corporation.

Adding to the list of Walensky’s failings was her concession that the CDC didn’t collect data on hospitalizations of vaccinated individuals, a glaring omission in a pandemic driven by data and statistics. However, this lack of crucial data was used to push for greater access to medical data for public health agencies. In the hands of the right director, this could prove beneficial. But given the controversy surrounding Walensky’s tenure, this call for increased data access raises serious questions.

Walensky’s replacement, expected to be Mandy Cohen, will inherit a tumultuous political climate and a CDC fraught with controversies. With mounting Republican oversight, Cohen must bring a more transparent and accountable approach to the role.

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