Heroes of The Week: CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat and Dr. Nancy Messonnier – Truth Tellers On Coronavirus


Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC Photo: HHS

It is women’s history month and so this week we salute two of the highest-ranking women doctors in the federal government who are working to contain the spread of the coronavirus.  Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, explained to Members of Congress on Tuesday that the disease had already met two of the three main criteria under the technical designation of a pandemic.  And in a briefing for reporters later on Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, straight-forwardly warned the public that there will be more coronavirus cases in the U.S. from a mix of contact and community spread.  “What is happening now in the U.S. may be the beginning of what is happening abroad,” Messonnier said in a telephone briefing.

Even as the President misled the public, telling reporters: “There’s only one hot spot, and that’s also pretty much in a very — in a home, as you know, in a nursing home,” these two dedicated public servants told the truth.  Schuchat said on that same day that “It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when and how many people will be infected.”   And Messonnier told reporters that “Disruption to everyday life might be severe” and “businesses, schools and families should begin having discussions about the possible impact from the spread of the virus.”  For telling it like it is, and doing so in a way that was intended to calm fears rather than stoke them, we salute these women leaders.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, CDC Photo: HHS

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