California’s top public health expert, Dr. Sonia Angell, abruptly announced on Sunday that she is stepping down from the post.
Angell’s decision came shortly after it was revealed that the state had been improperly reporting COVID-19 cases, though neither Angell nor Gov. Gavin Newsom cited that bombshell as the official reason for Angell’s resignation.
Angell wrote in an email to staffers on Sunday, “I remain consistently impressed and humbled by the expertise, commitment, passion, and kindness demonstrated by all of you daily. We have led with science and data, and with equity at the core of our intentions. As the first Latina in this role, I am very proud to have served this Department, Administration, and our State, alongside all of you.”
Sandra Shewry, a senior executive at the California Health Care Foundation, will step in as the acting director of the Department of Public Health.
Erica Pan, the former director of the division of communicable disease control and prevention at Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland will become the state’s acting public health officer.
Newsom has kept buzz over the shocking revelation that data errors have led to significant undercounting of cases in the state to a minimum, but Angell’s sudden resignation raises even further questions.
Though not much information is available about the extent of the misreporting, the news has the potential to cast a very poor light on Newsom, who has been praised for his handling of the virus outbreak in California.