CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing on Monday that the United States is facing “impending doom” as daily COVID-19 cases begin to rebound once again, threatening to send more people to the hospital even as vaccinations accelerate nationwide. Walensky was visibly emotional as she made a plea to the American people to wait out the vaccination period and continue to observe all COVID protocols including social distancing and wearing masks.
“When I first started at CDC about two months ago I made a promise to you: I would tell you the truth even if it was not the news we 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 said.
“I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky continued. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.”
Dr. Walensky urged Americans to “just hold on a little longer” and to get vaccinated against the virus once it’s their turn. When cases rise as they have over the last week or so, Walensky said, they often “surge and surge big” shortly thereafter.
As a wife, mother, daughter, physician & CDC Director, I ask you to hold on a little while longer. We are almost there, but not quite yet. Continue using #COVID19 prevention methods & get vaccinated when you can so that you and others will still be here once this pandemic ends.
— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) March 29, 2021
“I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director and not only as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer,” Walensky said.
Today, seen visibly shaken whilst trying to hold back tears, the CDC Director Rochelle Walensky ditched prepared remarks to share her fear of rising Covid case numbers in US, fearing impending doom and pleads with people to hold on a little longer.
Wear a mask. Get vaccinated.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) March 29, 2021
With Passover this week and Easter next weekend, it’s unlikely everyone will heed Dr. Walensky’s urgent warnings.
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
The grim warning from Dr. Walensky followed what was an otherwise optimistic update on the nation’s vaccine rollout: the U.S. is administering a weekly average of 2.7 million shots per day, which is “significant progress” toward President Joe Biden’s fresh goal of administering 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office, said Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for Covid response.
“This is good news. We’re headed in the right direction, but we can’t slow down. Millions remain unvaccinated and at risk,” Slavitt said.