Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, should be eating crow these days but is instead deflecting from her agency’s litany of Covid failures. In keeping with her track record of getting things wrong, she got them woefully wrong again — this time, not with regard to Covid but with regard to the people who disagree with her expert guidance.
During a visit to the Washington University School of Medicine on Thursday, Walensky threw a one-two punch at her critics, but it didn’t quite land. It instead only broadcast more elitist hubris and reinforced why federal health bureaucrats haven’t retained a shred of credibility.
Talking about the vaccine, she said the following:
So many of us wanted to be hopeful. So many of us wanted to say, ‘OK, this is our ticket out, right? Now we’re done.’ So I think we had perhaps too little caution and too much optimism for some good things that came our way. I really do. I think all of us wanted this to be done. Nobody said ‘waning.’ … You know, ‘Oh, this vaccine’s going to work.’ [Nobody said,] ‘Oh, maybe it’ll wear off.’ Nobody said … ‘What if it’s not as potent against the next variant?'”
In response to a different question about risk-benefit assessments a few moments later, she said, chuckling snidely (or as she characterized it, “a little bit tongue in cheek”), “I know I’m going to be wrong for half the country, so now that I’ve accepted that.”
The obvious implication of her remark, of course, is that no matter what she says, “half the country” will disagree with her expert opinion. Throughout the pandemic, this half has included those who have resisted mask mandates for schoolchildren (which Walensky admitted have not been dictated by science but by teachers union demands), those who have hesitated to get the Covid shot, those who have gathered with friends and family, and those unvaccinated with natural immunity who declined to wear a mask, just to name a few.
But the irony is that this “half the country” also included the people who said precisely the same things Walensky now insists “nobody said.”
Countless Americans have remained unvaccinated for now, and anyone who has ventured into Middle America to talk to people outside the Beltway and the halls of academia knows that they’ve declined the shot for many reasons. Some haven’t gotten it because they have never been at a significant risk of severe illness or death. Others haven’t gotten it for religious reasons.
But others wondered how long vaccine immunity would last and if natural immunity might be stronger — something the most rigorous studies have supported. Some non-vulnerable people wanted to see if the vaccines would really stop transmission or if they would only aid the individuals who got the shot. Others knew viral mutation was inevitable and wondered whether vaccinating against one variant would do them any good against the next wave, so they waited to find out.
Perhaps Walensky doesn’t know these things were being said because her friends in the Biden administration were working overtime to ensure these unsavory opinions were slapped with a “misinformation” label and nuked from the internet. Big Tech got trigger-happy with their bans, issuing fake “fact-checks” against contrary opinions to keep them from seeing the light of day.
Meanwhile, dissenters had their opinions shouted out of the public square. The vaccine hesitant had their faith scrutinized and their employment terminated. And corrupt media churned out its daily dose of propaganda, which often featured disconnected pundits reinforcing the bureaucracy’s narrative that the wrongthinkers are selfish rubes, without ever bothering to ask them about their questions and concerns. So maybe Walensky really thinks nobody ever said these things.
It seems more likely, however, that Walensky knows full well that Americans have been saying these things since the beginning. Given the desperate scramble to improve poll numbers and recover their blown credibility, Walensky’s remarks in context look more like a “CYA” attempt and a “limited hangout” operation.
How else are we to interpret her blameshifting to the “public” at large for believing The Science (TM) to be black and white? It’s so incredibly irksome to hear Walensky now admit — after Dr. Anthony Fauci declared that he is “the science” and Covid cultists chanted “follow the science” — that the “science is gray,” as she did on Thursday. It’s beyond annoying to listen to her say the pandemic could make masking a regular exercise because she hasn’t had “a cold in a really long time” and “we don’t miss those.”
None of it, however, is as infuriating as watching the director of our country’s premier public health agency backhand the half of Americans who are rightly skeptical of her pronouncements and then pretend that nobody said nor could have foreseen the outcome of Covid vaccine mandates — after those same Americans did foresee and did say all of those things and were punished for it. Like elitist hubris, the gaslighting never stops.