Incoming CDC Director projects “dark weeks ahead”

Katie Lannan
State House News Service

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Massachusetts General Hospital infections disease physician that President Joe Biden nominated to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a recent interview that she expects the United States will reach 500,000 COVID-19 deaths by mid-February. The death toll surpassed 400,000 on Tuesday.

In a Sunday interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Walensky said she believes the country is still facing “some dark weeks ahead.”

“By the middle of February, we expect half a million deaths in this country,” she said, according to a transcript. “That doesn’t speak to the tens of thousands of people who are living with a yet uncharacterized syndrome after they’ve been recovered — after they’ve recovered. And we still yet haven’t seen the ramifications of what happened from the holiday travel, from holiday gathering in terms of high rates of hospitalizations and the deaths thereafter.”

Walensky said she intends to brief the public “as often as I can, as often as new information comes,” and plans to advocate “to make sure that we have the resources for our public health system so that we can do the surveillance that is necessary for that testing.”

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