Employees at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the mood in their office is somber.
The employees of one of the largest federal agencies in Atlanta said they’re concerned about job safety, funding and new public health policies under Donald Trump’s presidency.
At the General Muir deli across the street from the CDC, a few employees talked to WABE, asking that their names not be used. One microbiologist said her colleagues were crying in the hallways.
“It’s really sad,” she said. “It’s depressing. I’m eating a bagel to try and be happy.”
She said she’s worried Trump might appoint public health leaders who may not be in total support of mandatory vaccinations, pointing to Dr. Ben Carson or Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Another CDC worker said her job collecting data is partially funded through the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m pretty worried about work that I’ve put in for the last year and a half if it gets repealed wholesale, and if that goes away, we regress like scientifically 20 years back,” she said.
President-Elect Trump has promised to abolish the Affordable Care Act.
But, she said, they are looking for a silver lining, specifically reaching out to low-income, rural communities.
“My team is trying to identify how to reach out to this electorate that has clearly expressed that they’re hurting,” she said. “We’re thinking, you know, how can we reach out to these people so they don’t feel the need to feel disenfranchised, I guess.”
Another employee, who has worked for the CDC for nearly 40 years, said it shouldn’t really matter who the new boss is.
“We’ve ran this place underfunded and we’ve done a great job,” he said. “With Zika, don’t forget, we were at the brink of running out of money, but we prevailed. We’ve got a mission, we’re dedicated to it and we’re going to continue it.”
In an emailed statement, the CDC wrote: “As always in political transitions, CDC stands ready to work with the new administration to protect and advance America’s health security.”