NEW YORK (AP) — Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, submitted her resignation Friday, saying the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic was a good time to make a transition.
Walensky’s last day will be June 30, CDC officials said, and an interim director wasn’t immediately named. She sent a resignation letter to President Joe Biden and announced the decision at a CDC staff meeting.
Walensky, 54, has been the agency’s director for a little over two years, and the announcement took many health experts by surprise. In her letter to Biden, she expressed “mixed feelings” about the decision and didn’t explain exactly why she was stepping down, but said the nation is at a moment of transition as emergency declarations come to an end.
“I have never been prouder of anything I have done in my professional career,” she wrote.
The World Health Organization said Friday that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency, and the U.S. public health emergency will expire next week. Deaths in the U.S. are at their lowest point since the earliest days of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020.
The CDC, with a $12 billion budget and more than 12,000 employees. is an Atlanta-based federal agency charged with protecting Americans from disease outbreaks and other public health threats.