Senior CDC official who met Trump's wrath for raising alarm about coronavirus to resign

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Nancy Messonnier, a senior health expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was the first U.S. official to warn Americans last year that a looming pandemic would change their lives forever, will resign from her position with the agency, she told colleagues in an email Friday morning.

Her last day will be May 14.

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"My family and I have determined that now is the best time for me to transition to a new phase of my career," she wrote in the email, which was reviewed by The Washington Post. "CDC has provided me many meaningful, rewarding, and challenging opportunities to grow intellectually and mature as a public health leader."

She added, "I am especially grateful for the time, talent, and energy that so many of you gave over the past 16 months. Together and in collaboration with our partners across public health and the federal, state, tribal, local and territorial government, we achieved incredible things, including deploying multiple vaccines in under one year and building the information infrastructure to provide real-time vaccination coverage and vaccine safety data."

Related: How Trump has undercut the CDC on coronavirus

Messonnier, who has been director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases since 2016, was replaced last month as head of the agency's vaccine task force.

Messonnier did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A CDC spokeswoman declined comment.

Messonnier survived President Donald Trump's rage after she contradicted the White House's reassuring message last year with her now-famous Feb. 25, 2020, announcement that the United States should prepare for an unprecedented health crisis, which tanked stock markets worldwide.

"It's not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses," she said then. "Disruptions to everyday life may be severe, but people might want to start thinking about that now."

Trump became enraged and directed other officials walk back Messonnier's warning the same afternoon, and she was soon pulled from the spotlight.

Messonnier wrote in her Friday email that she would become executive director for pandemic and public health systems at the Palo Alto,Calif.-based Skoll Foundation.

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