On Sunday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky was targeted by critics after she hedged on how many Americans died due to the coronavirus and how many deaths were because the COVID patient had underlying symptoms.
Bret Baier of "Fox News Sunday" asked Dr. Walensky how many of the 836,000 deaths in the U.S. linked to COVID were in fact from COVID or with COVID but with other comorbidities.
"Yes of course with omicron we're following that very carefully," Dr. Walensky replied vaguely, as reported by Fox News. "Our death registry of course takes a few weeks...to collect. And of course omicron has just been with us for a few weeks. But those data will be forthcoming."
Dr. Walensky's dissatisfactory answer frustrated critics of the Biden administration, who have been pushing the agency to clarify that distinction about COVID deaths and deaths from comorbidities with COVID for some time now.
Radio host Buck Sexton took to Twitter to criticize the CDC, writing, "The CDC has managed to take the title of most inept, useless, corrupt 3 letter agency in the federal government, which is a pretty damn impressive achievement."
Republican commentator Matt Whitlock also took to Twitter to remark that the actual data should be released as it is often being used as an excuse to implement strict lockdowns and other measures such as vaccine and mask mandates. Whitlock wrote, "Seems like this would be good to know by now - as wildly consequential moves about school closures, lockdowns, and vax mandates are relying on that kind of information."
"When the corrupt US Government addressed COVID they put in place unique ways of reporting deaths," The Gateway Pundit argued. "They began by claiming every death where someone was suspected of having COVID when they died was to be recorded as a COVID death."
The report said that only 6% of all deaths were actually due to COVID, while the remaining 94% were due to other underlying conditions that the COVID patient had. Moreover, these patients were labeled as dying from COVID despite having two or more comorbidities.
Recently, the CDC has been plagued with criticism over their confusing public health messaging about COVID as the pandemic nears its third year. According to the Washington Post, Dr. Walensky for the first time on Friday held her first solo COVID news conference since becoming director of the agency almost a year ago. The infectious disease physician did not offer any apologies during the conference but acknowledged the challenges of being ahead of an evolving virus.
Dr. Walensky pledged that the CDC is "working really hard to get information to the American public. This is hard, and I am committed to continue to improve as we learn more about the science and to communicate that with all of you."
Jody Lanard, a physician who serves as a pandemic communications adviser for the World Health Organization for nearly 20 years advised Dr. Walensky to acknowledge "in a confident tone, with no self-flagellation, that many people have told her that her communications have been confusing and unclear." Even an unnamed scientist who works with Dr. Walensky expressed his frustration that the CDC director did not directly address the confusion surrounding the agency's isolation and testing guidance, among other public messaging.