National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Nancy Messonnier speaks today during a press conference at the Department of Health and Human Services on the Coordinated Public Health Response to Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) January 28, 2020 in Washington, DC .
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the health professional who was one of the first to raise the alarm about the coronavirus threat to the US, is stepping down from her role at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several outlets reported on Friday.
Messonnier, who has been director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases since 2016, will be leaving the agency effective May 14, the outlets reported.
She will take on a new role as executive director of pandemic and public health systems at the Skoll Foundation, a California-based organization, she told colleagues in an email.
The CDC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Messonnier’s resignation, first reported by the Washington Post.
In early 2020, when fewer than 100 cases of Covid had been reported in the US, Messonnier urged the nation to prepare for a massive outbreak that would drastically affect normal life.
“I understand that this whole situation seems overwhelming and that the disturbance of everyday life can be serious. But these things people have to think about now,” Messonnier said in February 2020.
Messonnier’s sharp warnings contrasted sharply with the news from then-President Donald Trump at the same time. The former president had falsely tried to reassure the nation that the low number of US Covid cases “will go to zero in a matter of days” and will “miraculously” go away.
More than 32,606,724 Covid infections have been reported in the United States, and at least 580,076 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.