According to the White House, President Biden’s pick to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has a “proven track record protecting Americans’ health and safety”
The White House cited Dr. Mandy Cohen’s “leadership through the covid crisis” for drawing “bipartisan praise” and for her “ability to find common ground and put complex policy into action.”
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However, critics have attacked her support for strict mandates and lockdowns and have also questioned her ties to the Gates Foundation and World Economic Forum.
The Defender reports: Critics of Biden’s appointee took a different view of Cohen’s track record — especially her support for lockdowns and mandates during the pandemic, when she led North Carolina’s pandemic response as head of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
“Cohen appears to be fully entrenched in the ‘bio-pharmaceutical complex,’” Dr. Peter McCullough told The Defender.
McCullough, author of “The Courage to Face COVID-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex,” said:
“She was on the wrong side of every pandemic public health intervention, failed to recognize early therapeutics and natural immunity, and to date has not acknowledged the safety disaster unfolding with the COVID-19 mass, indiscriminate, vaccination program.”
Alex Berenson, commentator and former New York Times journalist, described Cohen as “a public health COVID authoritarian” and “the worst possible person to become the next CDC head” — which he said proves the Biden administration “has learned all the wrong lessons since 2021.”
And according to Jeffrey A. Tucker, founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, “Going through [Cohen’s] timeline is a strange blast from the past of heartbreaking fear-mongering, pseudo-science, and propaganda. She passed with flying colors all three tests of compliance: closures, masking, and vaccine mandates.”
The New York Post cited videos showing Cohen “gloating about implementing COVID lockdowns, inconsistently following her own mitigation guidelines and forcing public schools to have students masked indoors regardless of vaccination status.”
Cohen will take over the agency in early July. She replaces Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who has led the CDC since January 2021. Walensky, who submitted her resignation in May citing the end of the national COVID-19 emergency, will depart June 30.
Cohen’s appointment did not require a Senate hearing. However, the recently passed omnibus spending bill requires Senate confirmation beginning in January 2025.
According to Politico, “Cohen’s charge is, officially, to restore trust in an agency that its outgoing director, Rochelle Walensky, has acknowledged ‘did not reliably meet expectations’ after COVID arrived. ” Her “official work at CDC will revolve around the agency overhaul that Walensky started.”
Walensky’s handling of the pandemic response, believed by some to be responsible for waning public trust in the agency, was the subject of a contentious hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Walensky congratulated Cohen, describing her as “a respected public health leader who helped North Carolina successfully navigate” COVID-19, and whose “unique experience and accomplished tenure in North Carolina … make her perfectly suited to lead CDC as it moves forward by building on the lessons learned from COVID-19 to create an organization poised to meet public health challenges of the future.”
Cohen comes in as the CDC “has shifted from a rarely discussed agency to a kitchen table topic and political lightning rod,” Roll Call wrote. She will face efforts to secure an increased budget and authorities via the fiscal 2024 appropriations legislation and the reauthorization of a 2006 pandemic preparedness law.
Republican lawmakers have opposed an increase in the CDC’s budget or authority.
Walensky’s assertion that Cohen will have to prepare for the next public health emergency raised some eyebrows — as have Cohen’s statements that the CDC didn’t do enough under the Trump administration early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think on the CDC side, they were underprepared, and their execution was lacking,” Cohen said during a talk at Duke University. “And unfortunately, they had a few early missteps that really hurt their credibility long-term.” Cohen said the CDC wasn’t able to effectively communicate with the public.
“Dr. Mandy Cohen during her tenure as North Carolina’s HHS secretary pushed through the most draconian COVID-19 measures imaginable.
“With her at the helm of the CDC, I expect we will just get more lying and hiding regarding the agency’s abysmal response to the pandemic and horrific track record in general.”
Private sector connections to vaccine manufacturers, Gates, Big Tech, WEF
According to the White House, Cohen, an internist, comes to the CDC from the private sector, where she is executive vice president of Aledade and CEO of Aledade Care Solutions — a post she took after her stint leading the NCDHHS.
Aledade “helps independent primary care practices, health centers, and clinics deliver better care to their patients and thrive in value-based care.”
Aledade’s executive leadership and board of directors include people who held positions in federal public health organizations and in Big Tech, and some with connections to the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:
- CEO Farzad Mostashari previously worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and “served as a distinguished expert at the Brookings Institute’s Engelberg Center for HealthCare Reform.”
- President Mat Kendall, Chief Medical Officer Emily Maxson and Chief Performance Officer Ahmed Haque also previously worked for HHS.
- Chief Policy Officer Sean Cavanaugh and Senior Vice President for Policy and Economics Travis Broome previously worked for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
- Chief Product Officer Nick Kinkaid previously worked for companies such as Google, Walmart and Tesla.
- Chief Technology Officer Ritwik Tewari previously worked for Meta, “where he oversaw the Artificial Intelligence platform for the company’s multi-billion dollar advertisement platform,” and prior to that, worked for Microsoft.
- Chief Financial Officer John Doyle was “a member of the 2012 Class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute.”
- Board member Dr. Bob Kocher served in the Obama administration as special assistant to the president for healthcare and economic policy on the National Economic Council, and previously worked for HHS.
- Board member Julie Sunderland was director of program-related investments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “where she was responsible for managing the foundation’s $1.5 billion program-related investment pool which focuses on strategic investments in global health, global development, and U.S. education.”
- Board member Phyllis Yale “is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, including several times at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.”
- Board member Michelle Ryan worked for Johnson & Johnson for almost 30 years, most recently as treasurer, until retiring in 2021.
Aledade has been backed by several venture capital firms, including GV, “the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc.” (Google), and Biomatics Capital, “a Seattle-based digital health and genomics focused venture capital firm” founded by Sunderland.
Tucker expressed concerns that Cohen’s background means her tenure as CDC director will be marked not by change, but by more of the same.
“She is a faithful member of the lockdown party and thus demonstrates her willingness to do it again should the occasion arise,” he wrote.
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