She’s spent the past four months pitching health guidance as head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now, CDC director and Boston Red Sox fan Dr. Rochelle Walensky will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Boston’s game against the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
It’s a big day not just for Walensky, but also for Red Sox fans and all of Massachusetts.
The state’s mask mandate was lifted for many locations Saturday after Walensky recently said fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks indoors or outdoors in most circumstances.
Massachusetts has one of the best vaccination rates in the country. As of Tuesday, 62% of all adults in the state had been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. That’s the fourth-highest rate in the country.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said on May 13.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities – large or small – without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”
Saturday also marked the first day that Fenway Park and all other venues in Massachusetts could open at full capacity – though people who aren’t fully vaccinated are still strongly encouraged to wear masks when physical distancing might not be possible.
With strong vaccination rates, “Massachusetts is on a path towards renewing our economy and returning to normal,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said.
Walensky told CNN she’s a big fan of the Red Sox, especially because the team frequently supports the Jimmy Fund – which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where her husband is a pediatric oncologist.
She also has deep ties to the Boston area. Walensky was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012 to 2020 and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017 to 2020, before she was selected to lead the CDC.
CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.