Following the science until she didn’t – Rochelle Walensky and revised Omicron Covid-19 guidelines

Author: Sarah W. Mellen
Publisher: International Journal of Instructional Cases


IJIC, Volume 6 (2022)

The new head of the C.D.C., Dr. Rochelle Walensky, began her job in January 2021 during the middle of the worst pandemic in modern history and had a tumultuous start. She was criticized for giving confusing public guidance on safeguarding themselves from Covid-19. In January 2022, she was questioned for her seemingly 180-degree reversal of reducing quarantine restrictions during the most contagious phase of the virus (link to the press release announcing revised guidelines –

Students should examine what has gone wrong and what could have been done better with her communications. Other discussions should analyze the importance of establishing credibility, communicating clearly, the influence of stakeholders, and persuasion.

business communications, marketing communications, leadership/executive communications, strategic communications, crisis communications

Target Audience and Usage
Low to mid-level undergraduate students in business communications or marketing communications. Students should understand the basics of effective communications before analyzing this case.

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