The headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. .
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President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Dr. Rochelle Walensky selected as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a person familiar with the decision that has put a respected infectious disease expert at the helm of a critical but demoralized agency in its response to the coronavirus pandemic fought.
Walensky, chief infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will succeed Robert Redfield, who has headed the CDC since 2018. No Senate confirmation is required for this position.
Walensky faces a challenging assignment: leading the agency back to the role it traditionally plays in fighting epidemics and tackling a surge in the pandemic, which has driven hospital stays and deaths soaring.
For months, the White House played a hands-on role in shaping the federal government's public health recommendations, sometimes heavily redacting or overriding the CDC's guidelines on issues such as social distancing in bars, restaurants and places of worship. The agency has also suffered from its own mistakes, including mistakes that delayed the launch of a critical coronavirus diagnostic test that could have caught infections earlier in the pandemic.
An expanded version of this report is posted on WSJ.com.
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