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Incoming Biden CDC director says she'll reinstate public briefings

Incoming Biden CDC director says she'll reinstate public briefings
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Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyBiden to ban most non-US citizens traveling from South Africa over new COVID-19 variant: report Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus CDC gets a second opinion: Seven steps to heal our COVID-19 response MORE, President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE’s choice to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Wednesday that she intends to resume public briefings, which have been all but halted at the agency during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I think communication has to be key here," she said on CNN's "New Day."

"The public needs to know what we know, they need to know the good, and there will be some bad news, I’m certain of it, they need to know that too, so yes, I very much plan to do so,” she added.  

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The move would mark a reversal from the past several months, during which the CDC has held few briefings, leaving much of the public response to the coronavirus pandemic to the White House COVID-19 task force and President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE

Critics have said the Trump administration’s messaging surrounding the pandemic has been scattershot, with some noting that the White House has left it to the states to cobble together mandates regarding masks, indoor dining and more.

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Walensky on Wednesday indicated that a Biden administration would try to implement a more “uniform” message across the country. 

“We need to have a uniformity of message. We’re already in really frequent communication, which I’m enthusiastic about, to make sure that the science that we are hearing is consistent with what other people are learning and that we’re taking all of the science collaboratively and making policies at a federal level,” she said. “We need promote the science, we need to just make sure the science is being consistent and translatable into guidance that is uniform across the states.”

Walensky will take control of the CDC during what is anticipated to be one of the most dangerous times of the pandemic. The country is already routinely suffering thousands of deaths a day, and public health officials have warned that there will be another spike in cases following Christmas.

While the early stages of vaccine distribution are already underway, Walensky said on CNN that the nation cannot afford to shirk public health guidelines like wearing a mask and social distancing.

“I also want to convey that I believe that that’s just a down payment to what needs to happen in order to get to every corner of the country,” she said, regarding a coronavirus relief package Congress passed this week, “and I also want to make sure Americans understand that more vaccine is a really good thing, but we can’t let off on the measures that we have right now.”