Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Dr. Nancy Messonnier who warned last February about the potential for severe disruption to everyday life ” due to coronavirus has announced her resignation from the CDC, effective May 14, according to Fox News.
Messonnier is reportedly leaving the agency to take on a role at the nonprofit Skoll Foundation following what was a tumultuous year for the CDC.
Messonnier worked as the agency’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Diseases and was a regular participant in the coronavirus briefings at the beginning of the pandemic.
Following the announcement, agency director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was asked details about Messonnier’s departure during the White House COVID-19 briefing. The director had no small amount of praise for the exiting doctor’s achievements but didn’t comment on her reasons for leaving.
“My family and I have determined that now is the best time for me to transition to a new phase of my career,” Messonnier wrote her colleagues, according to the New York Times.
It was Messonnier that first put out the warning on Feb. 25 20202 warning Americans that they should prepare themselves for an outbreak before other officials willing to admit the threat was anything substantial.
The doctor warned that the virus could move “quite rapidly” more than a week before the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic: “As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” she famously said during the briefing.
“I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe, but these are things people need to start thinking about now.
“Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”