CDC says it will revamp agency following pandemic criticism

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that it will undergo a month-long review and assessment of its agency following criticism of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, in an agency-wide email obtained by The New York Times and The Washington Post, said the CDC had hired a senior outside federal health official to perform the review of the agency’s “structure, systems and processes”.

“The lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the feedback I have received inside and outside the agency over the past year, indicate that it is time to take action. step back and strategically position the CDC to support the future of public health,” she said, according to the Times.

Jim Macrae, who is Associate Administrator for Health Resources and Services Administration for the Department of Health and Human Services, will conduct the review. It will start on April 11.

Three senior CDC officials will help Macrae by gathering feedback on the agency’s structure and offering suggestions on what could be changed strategically, Walensky said.

The objective of the process is to upgrade and modernize the “core capabilities” of the agency. That includes expanding its workforce, modernizing data, lab capacity, health equity, and its response to outbreaks and preparedness, according to the Post.

Over the past year, the CDC has worked to expedite data reporting and scientific processes as part of its pandemic response. But this review will, among other things, institutionalize and formalize those processes, the agency told HuffPost in an email Tuesday.

“These efforts will strengthen and transform CDC to better support the future of public health, and modernize and optimize the agency to deliver science and programmatic activities to the American people,” a spokesperson said.

The agency was hit with a barrage of criticism over the pandemic even before Walensky took over in early 2021.

Critics have attacked the agency for things like do not immediately recommend face masks, being late to recognize that the virus is airborne, telling people who are fully vaccinated that they can stop wearing masks indoors, and then telling them to wear masks indoors.

It was also criticized for advising people who tested positive for the virus but were asymptomatic to be able to leave isolation after just five days, half the previous recommendation.

Walensky acknowledged the various obstacles that have been thrown at the agency.

“Never in its 75-year history has the CDC had to make decisions so quickly, based on often limited, real-time, evolving science,” Walensky said of the management. of the pandemic by the agency in a statement on Monday.




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