Skip to Main Content

The principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anne Schuchat, is retiring from the agency.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the news Monday, saying Schuchat would be leaving the agency over the summer. The news was first reported by Politico.

“I have enormous gratitude for Dr. Schuchat’s leadership and contributions over three decades, and during this very challenging period for our country. I am especially thankful for her invaluable counsel, assistance and support in my transition into this role,” Walensky said in a statement. “I will remain forever grateful that our paths crossed, even for just a short while.”


Schuchat is the second high-profile official to leave the CDC this month; on May 7, the agency announced Nancy Messonnier, who had led CDC’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, was leaving. It was later announced she will be the executive director of the Skoll Foundation, a private philanthropy with a focus on preventing pandemics.

Questions remain about the nature of Messonnier’s departure, with news reports that she’d been stripped of her role as the CDC’s liaison to the Biden administration’s pandemic response task force. But Schuchat’s resignation is being cast as a 33-year-veteran of the agency deciding it was time to leave.


In an interview with STAT, Schuchat, who is 61, said she’d been thinking of retirement for a while, but felt she could not leave the agency during a time of crisis. With increasing numbers of Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 and case rates and deaths in the country falling, she said she felt the right time had arrived.

“We’re certainly in the United States are in a much better position than we’ve been, really, since last spring. And the vaccination effort has really been extraordinary,” she said. “I feel so optimistic about CDC’s future and the nation’s public health system that this is the right time for me to move on.”

An internal medicine physician, Schuchat joined the CDC in 1988 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer — the famed disease detective training program the CDC has run for over 70 years. Many EIS officers, as they are known, remain with the CDC after their epidemiology training; Schuchat was one of them.

She was involved in the investigations of the 2001 anthrax attacks, the 2003 SARS outbreak, and the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. She served as the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; Messonnier took over that role when Schuchat the CDC’s principal deputy director in 2015.

Schuchat also served two short stints as acting director of the CDC, at the beginning of the Trump administration before the appointment of Brenda Fitzgerald, and then after Fitzgerald left seven months later in a scandal about her purchase of tobacco stocks while heading the CDC.

Former director Tom Frieden, who appointed Schuchat to the agency’s No. 2 job, praised her for her contribution to the CDC.

“She is widely respected, and rightly so, for her profound dedication, incisive intelligence, and deep knowledge of public health,” he said via email.

Schuchat informed her staff and CDC senior management of her impending departure on Monday, saying she wanted to give people time to plan for the transition ahead.

As for her own plans, she said she is “looking forward to retirement, not another job” and hopes to develop some hobbies for which she hasn’t had the time during her decades at CDC.

“As a person who since childhood was planning to be a doctor … there were interests in my youth that maybe I’ll get back to… Some of the hobbies and stuff that I haven’t had time,” Schuchat said. “I’m going to go find out what those things are.”

  • Maybe she could explain why we did not adopt the Zelenko Protocol which was available since March 21, 2020? Didn’t she know the truth about hydroxychloroquine which is a safe drug? See

  • I think both Schuchat and Messonnier have been beat up and burned out by the politicization of this pandemic. I left local Public Health work for similar reasons too.

  • All the senior employee of CDC needs to resigned. The test kit blunder, the no need to wear a mask blunder, only people coming from China need to be test blunder, etc.

    Then they finally recently admitted that the virus is transmitted by air, then you can now safely remove your mask. Someone is very wrong with CDC.

    • I viewed the recent change in guidance as an admission that masks are ineffective for preventing Covid. I’m personally glad the US is moving away from them, because they are an ecological catastrophe with very little health benefits.

    • When we don’t allow science to learn, necessarily via trial and error in the context of a novel viral pandemic, what works and what doesn’t, we create fake ‘failures.’ It’s not a “failure” to absorb further data and use that data to adjust and alter earlier ‘best knowledge at this time’ recommendations. It’s science, period. It’s also the case that masks were discouraged in March/April due to being caught in terribly short supply. Fauci knew the moment he’d say “Mask up,” every mask in the US would vanish and HCWs would be left naked.

  • I stop listening to Fauci when a reporter asked him if people will developed permanently immunity on covid19. His replied is like all other pathogen, people will develop lifelong immunity to it. I think this was one of the reason why the younger people, who was told they will not get serious illness from Coviv19, tried to get themselves infected to get that immunity. How many people did CDC and Fauci blunders killed ? It would be nice if Fauci do the world a favor and retire.

    I never read news about him anymore, I think he is more a a politician than a scientist. When CDC and Brix was saying wash your hand and you don’t have to wear mask back in March 2020, that was like a big blunder to me. Doctors in Taiwan and China are already saying it was in the air. Fauci did not even contradict CDC.

    To keep oneself safe, it is better to do ones own research than listening to Fauci and CDC.

  • It certainly seems that Anne Schuchat who has dedicated more than half her life to public health must have done a whole lot right to be with the CDC for 33 years. I do not understand the vitriole expressed (or oozing from) several commentors below. Jealousy? I on the other hand want to thank her for her hard work, and I wish her a Very Happy Uncomplicated Retirement – away from couch critics etc.

  • After her many decades of service resisting the attack of virus and other pathogens she had to stand by helpless and an ignorant politician caused over half a million needless deaths. The research showung all the deaths over 4,000 as preventable may sound too good to be true, but it is pretty darn close.
    May she enjoy retirememt more than what the last three yers gave her.

    • Phil, your are talking about “politicans” plural aren’t you — specifically the Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania?

      If you aren’t you should be.

    • Blessed with the gift of hindsight I’d love to hear your fantasized story for how you would have limited the global number of Covid deaths to 4,000. We still haven’t traced this to patient zero, and you couldn’t have prevented this even if you had a time machine.

    • Oh, good grief! Go back and read articles from the beginning of 2020, where hundreds of thousands of deaths were predicted by our own top government health officials. Go back and watch the testimony to Congress of the benefits of ivermectin (then not allowed, now allowed). Understand the whole cloth mask/real world scenario (you were better off distanced during surges) and the fact that CV-19 was breaking through cloth. There are many fingers to point.

  • Keep track of where these people are going. Just as they are starting to get to the root of where this pandemic started, the people involved, and those involved in pushing fear that led to the greatest mistake in human history (lockdowns), they are leaving their posts in droves. Should be held accountable.

    • Please cite reference on “droves” who left beyond normal changing of guard after other party takes office. Some political lackeys (e.g. Redfield, Hahn, Azar) left or were fired rightfully IMO. I am interested in Messonnier’s departure, but Anne Schuchat sounds like she’ll end up at home.

      580K deaths (most unnecessary) should elicit fear and a-political root cause analysis. Mistakes made and aftermath will be felt for decades, as well as recognition of success, e.g. vaccines. Regardless of origin, US response – measured in unnecessary deaths, exposure of racial inequality, failure to protect frontline care providers and the aged – was “catastrophic”.

    • Steven Ross, here’s some data for you.

      We have a population of 330 million people in this country. Taking into account the CDC distinction of “died from” and “died with” we will lose around 600,000 people, more or less, kinda sorta. Approximately 25% percent of those deaths are individuals over the age of 80. Moreover, the average number of co-morbidities — diabetes, ischemic heart disease, etc– is close to 4 per fatality.

      Let that sink in. FOUR.

      Our response to this has been to (1) throw 12 million people out of work; (2) destroy thousands of small businesses that will have a very hard time coming back, it they even do; (3) transform one of the greatest cities on the planet, New York, into a ghost town; (4) take away a year’s worth of education for young students, many of whom are poor, with very bad consequences that have yet to play out; (5) print enormous sums of money that are just now beginning to have disastrous consequences, and will saddle our progeny with a debt they can never repay.

      Enough data for you?

      Oh, one other thing. That death toll of 600k amounts to TWO TENTHS of ONE PERCENT of our nation’s population. That is sad and all, but in our “response” we have likely ruined the future lives of probably 10% of the population — 30+ million people.

      This tradeoff, this failure to engage in sensible risk management, has been absolutely catastrophic, and we will pay the price for years to come.

Comments are closed.