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Walensky to face House COVID panel before stepping down as CDC head

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will testify before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Tuesday to discuss the decisions her agency made during the pandemic.

This will be the final appearance she will make in front of the GOP-led panel before she steps down as head of the CDC at the end of this month. She is the sole witness scheduled to speak before the committee on Tuesday.

Walensky will likely face harsh questioning from the GOP members of the committee, with several of the representatives having blasted the agency’s recommended guidance during the pandemic.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the committee, said the hearing will look into the “ineffectual public policy decisions” made by the CDC during the COVID-19 outbreak, citing measure like vaccine and mask mandates as well as public guidance that was issued.

Wenstrup has indicated the CDC’s school reopening guidance will be among the major topics to be considered during the hearing, bringing up concerns over potential “political interference” from a major teachers union and the federal agency.

Much of the subcommittee’s activity under the Republican majority has dealt with the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, the panel held a hearing on nursing home mortality due to COVID.

This hearing takes places just weeks before Walensky is set to leave the CDC as its director, having announced her departure last month.

Walensky’s tenure at the CDC saw the nationwide vaccine campaign against COVID-19 as well as the end of the public health emergency for the pandemic. Her time at the agency saw both praise and heavy criticism.

The oft-changing guidance released by the CDC was criticized by public health stakeholders for leaving individuals unsure of how to best act during times of high infections. This feedback led Walensky to announce an overhaul of the CDC, with reorganization efforts made to streamline communication within the organization.

Source: The Hill

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