CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky became emotional at a White House coronavirus press briefing on Monday — her voice breaking as she warned that the US is facing “impending doom” as COVID-19 cases rise again.
“I’m gonna lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky told reporters at a White House coronavirus press briefing.
“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.”
“I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room, gowned, gloved, masked, shielded and to be the last person to touch some else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there,” she continued.
“And I know what it’s like to pull up to your hospital every day and see an extra morgue sitting outside.”
Walensky said she feared that the US is headed down a similar path to many European countries, which have had to issue lockdowns again amid surges in the cases.
“The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States looks similar to many other countries in Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France looked like just a few weeks ago and since that time those countries have experienced a consistent and worrying spike in cases,” she said.
Walensky — speaking, she said, not just as the CDC director but “as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter” — urged Americans to “hold on a little longer” until they can get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“We are not powerless. We can change this trajectory of the pandemic, but it will take all of us recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently, while we work to get the American public vaccinated,” she said.