“When I first started at CDC two months ago,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Monday, “I promised I would tell the truth, even when it wasn’t the news you wanted to hear. Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth and I have to hope and trust you will listen.”
Dr. Walensky then grew emotional as she recalled on her experiences treating Covid-19 patients who were alone at the end of their lives because loved ones could not risk infection.
Speaking during a White House briefing Dr. Walensky said, “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope,” she said. “But right now, I’m scared.”
“I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she said. Dr. Walensky then recalled, as a physician treating Covid infections, “being the last person in the room” to touch a patient’s hand “because a loved one couldn’t be there.” She also recalled walking into work and seeing “extra morgue trucks” set up outside to handle the overflow of bodies.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky goes off script with an emotional plea to the public about an “impending doom” following rise in COVID cases:
“Right now, I’m scared.” pic.twitter.com/UKjrRhr7He
— The Recount (@therecount) March 29, 2021
Cases of the virus are up about 10% week over week, according the CDC. Daily infections now total about 60,000 cases per day. Dr. Walensky warned that without sustained contrary action the country could follow Europe into another spike in cases and suffer another wave of deaths.
“I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen,” she plead.
Indeed, the director’s warning comes almost exactly a year to the day since the beginning of last spring’s Covid-19 wave. According to CDC data, the 7-day average of cases began to rise on March 20, 2020.
But on that date in 2020, the country was seeing about 15,000 new cases a day. As noted above, were the U.S. to be entering a new spring wave, it would be doing so not from 15,000 a day, but from about 60,000. That’s 400% above the floor of the 2020 spring wave. That wave peaked at about 75,000 per day on July 24.
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