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Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who guided President Joe Biden’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic from his first day in office, is leaving her post. Her announcement comes days before the Biden administration plans to end the public health emergency in place since early 2020, and at a time when Covid fears have receded and life mostly returned to a pre-pandemic normal.

According to the report on her announcement by Politico, last summer, Walensky launched a reorganization of the CDC, acknowledging that its “performance did not reliably meet expectations” during the pandemic.

She said she wanted to modernize the agency and rehabilitate its reputation.

In a statement, Biden said, “Walensky leaves CDC a stronger institution, better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans.”

In an internal email announcing her departure, Walensky wrote that she would step down on June 30.

She gave no specific reason for the decision to resign, writing that “at this pivotal moment for our nation and public health, having worked together to accomplish so much over the last two-plus years, it is with mixed emotions that I will step down.”

Walensky touted the administration’s Covid response, the CDC’s decision to declare racism a serious public health threat and its efforts to contain mpox among the accomplishments on her watch.

“I have never been prouder of anything I have done in my professional career,” she wrote.

Walensky had earlier this year notified top White House aides, including Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, that she planned to leave, an administration official granted anonymity to discuss her departure said. The two ultimately settled on making the decision public around the end of the Covid public health emergency.

Still, her resignation blindsided many health officials throughout the administration, many of whom had expected her to stay on at least through the end of the year – if not the end of Biden’s first term.

And Walensky in her email offered little in the way of a transition plan, writing only that “more information will be shared with you about next steps for CDC.”

Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said Walensky’s departure will not adversely impact the government’s transition out of the public health emergency.

“But it’s more turmoil for the agency, it’s always unfortunate when a leader leaves,” Benjamin said. “I think she did a good job and I’m sorry to see her go.”

But her critics, including many Republicans in Congress, see Walensky as responsible for confusing public health messaging that didn’t help end the pandemic, but did reduce trust in the government.

And public trust in the CDC has dropped dramatically since April 2020. Scores of lawsuits have been filed by critics of its pandemic performance challenging the agency’s authority, raising the very real question of whether Americans will listen to federal health officials’ recommendations the next time a national health crisis rolls around.

Walensky sought to regain lost ground by being more forthcoming about the CDC’s failings in recent months.