Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who drew fury from then-President Donald Trump when she first warned Americans publicly to prepare for the coronavirus, has resigned from her position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a media briefing Friday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called Messonnier a “true hero.”
Messonnier has “been a steward of public health for for the nation over this pandemic, and through a many-decade career, she’s made significant contributions, and she leaves behind a strong, strong force of leadership and courage in all that she’s done,” Walensky said.
Messonnier was the first federal health official to make a blunt statement about where the country was headed, back in February 2020 — weeks before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Messonnier said during a media briefing at the time.
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Messonnier was soon removed from public briefings related to Covid-19, instead focusing on vaccine efforts behind the scenes as director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
This past April, she was reassigned to a different position. Her resignation soon followed.
In an email to CDC staff, Messonnier said she was taking a new role at the California-based Skoll Foundation, which, according to its website, “drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems.”