Cupids Health

CDC Director Walensky, MD, MPH with the latest on Delta, the pandemic, and the future of the CDC

Dr. Rochelle Walensky is the 19th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to leading the CDC, she served as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Walensky was on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted research on vaccine delivery and strategies to reach underserved communities. She is also an influential scholar whose pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS.

We are honored to have her on the show today, where she’ll be sharing the latest on the Delta variant, how our pandemic response is shifting, and where the CDC is headed in the years to come beyond Covid-19.


3 thoughts on “CDC Director Walensky, MD, MPH with the latest on Delta, the pandemic, and the future of the CDC

  1. Dr. Walensky, thank you for your thoughtful comments, and how you are so careful to follow the science. Question: would you be able to address an issue regarding the recent CDC/MMWR case-control study which seeks to address the need for vaccine in those previously infected? There seems to be a problem with respect to "Absolute Value" which puts into question the proper interpretation of this study.

    It could be explained in this way: consider that the chances of a plane crashing into your house is about 1 in a million in the countryside, but 2 in a million in the city — twice as likely. That will not cause you to move out of the city, simply because both possibilities are so rare! The newspaper headline will read: "Airplane crashes twice as likely in the city, the debate about where to live is over!" Of course that is entirely misleading, because nobody worries about such an unlikely event. So the idea here is this: if people who are previously infected without subsequent vaccination have twice the likelihood of infection as compared to vaccinated people, but the incidence in both is very, very small, then "twice as likely" does not really matter. That is an important potential problem with case-control studies like this one, since they do not tell you about actual incidence in the population, or your actual chances of getting the infection. Thus the concern would be that the vaccine may not meaningfully improve the safety of the individual with previous infection. As you know there are cohort studies on this topic, including NEJM Dec 23 looking at people with antibodies to the virus, and also the SIREN study in Lancet describing the likelihood of reinfection (both pre-delta variant) — which lead one to think that reinfection is not more common with natural immunity than with the available vaccines.
    Thank you for your thoughts!

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