Earlier this year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky announced her departure from the powerful government position, in the wake of a multi-year pandemic that garnered mountains of controversy.
According to the Washington Examiner, the Biden administration announced this week that former North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen will take the helm as the director of the CDC upon Walensky's June 30 exit date.
It was noted that Cohen played a "strategic" role in former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Her appointment won't come without controversy, though, as Cohen was particularly strict regarding the pandemic and the rules that came along with it.
Cohen was a proponent of keeping children masked in school, though she later emphasized the importance of getting children back into the classroom.
Still, her record on how she approached the pandemic, including pushing the notion that masks were the "strongest tool" in preventing the spread, has already sparked social media backlash.
Schools with students in K-8th grade should require all children and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Schools with students in 9th-12th grades should ensure that anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated, including students, wear a mask indoors.
— Mandy Cohen (@DrMandyCohen) July 26, 2021
The Examiner noted:
Cohen said in July 2020 that COVID-19 did not spread easily among young children, but schools in North Carolina did not reopen until March 2021. Cohen also was a proponent of masking all children, including kindergartners, regardless of vaccination status.
The Biden administration can't afford to appoint someone who could generate extreme backlash, especially as the president gears up for the 2024 election.
American Medical Association (AMA) Board Chairman Bobby Mukkamala called Cohen "a credible and innovative leader [who] earned high marks during an incredibly trying time for her clear communication and collaborative style."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a 2024 Democratic candidate, expressed extreme concern over Cohen's appointment.
"Of all public officials, Dr. Mandy Cohen was one of the most strident and extreme in pushing mandates, lockdowns, and masks during the pandemic. And now, according to the NYT, she will be President Biden’s choice for CDC director," RFK Jr. tweeted.
"Biden's personal challenge is to find the least capable people imaginable and then put them into his cabinet and agencies. See Buttigieg, Sam Brinton, Rachel Levine, etc," another Twitter user wrote.
Since it's not a Cabinet-level position, Biden will not need Senate approval to hire her for the job. Only time will tell how she ultimately works out.