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CDC admits it didn’t meet expectations in COVID response

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlined an easy intend to overhaul the organization’s structure and operations in light of what she said was its failure to respond efficiently to the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with media reports.

Why it matters: The changes come following the CDC has faced fierce criticism because of its handling of both COVID and the growing monkeypox outbreak.

The picture as a whole: The group of steps to be studied include efforts to raised communicate with the general public, increase data releases and produce actionable data, AP reported.

  • The plans include restructuring the CDC’s communications office and revamping its websites to create public health guidance clearer and simpler to find.
  • The CDC may also add more staff to teams that react to public health emergencies and require these employees to stay within their positions for at the very least half a year, solving an issue of high turnover that proved confusing and frustrating through the pandemic, per the NY Times.
  • The agency may also alter its promotion system to put less focus on the amount of published scientific papers a worker has and much more on efforts to positively impact public health, the days reported.

The CDC has long faced criticism to be too academic and producing research that undergoes lengthy review processes which are a mismatch with the urgency of a pandemic, based on the Times.

  • On the list of changes announced Wednesday will undoubtedly be an focus on putting out preprint scientific reports that circumvent the lengthy peer review process but escape actionable data to the general public quicker, per AP.
  • A fresh executive council may also be intended to help Walensky set priorities and strategies.

Worth noting: Last month the Biden administration announced that it could elevate the Department of Health insurance and Human Services pandemic and disaster response office, that of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, right into a new division charged with handling the nations reaction to health emergencies.

  • The move effectively created a fresh federal agency, referred to as the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, on par with the CDC and FDA.

What they’re saying: “For 75 years, CDC and public health have already been finding your way through COVID-19, and inside our big moment, our performance didn’t reliably meet expectations,” Walensky said in a statement, Politico reported.

  • “As a long-time admirer of the agency and a champion for public health, I’d like us all to accomplish better,” she added.
  • “My goal is really a new, public health, action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication and timeliness,” Walensky said, per the changing times.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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