WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following intense criticism over their somewhat lackluster response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, stated Wednesday that they would be conducting a reorganization effort throughout the agency – essentially amounting to a full “reset” – due to the fact they did not “reliably meet expectations.”
Walensky announced that the reset would affect nearly every aspect of the CDC’s operations, from staffing to procedures followed, in an effort to bolster the agency’s responses to health issues and increase transparency with the public after perceived failures to do so during the pandemic.
“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” she said. “My goal is a new, public health action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness.”
The changes to the CDC were decided internally based on public and media criticism leveled at the agency, and not officially mandated by the Biden Administration or members of the Senate or Congress, according to Walensky.
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Early changes to the CDC would be an initial overhaul of their website to make it simpler to locate and access scientific and health reports released to the public, as well as a complete restructuring of their communications office from the ground up. The formation of a new executive council is also slated to take place, which will assist Walensky in creating strategies during health crises and establishing priorities for the CDC.
These moves, among others to be announced, are hoped by agency officials to restore public trust in the CDC, which for some was seriously eroded during the pandemic as conflicting and incorrect information about the coronavirus – that virus that causes COVID-19 – was disseminated to Americans.
For example, experts noted that the CDC failed to realize just how quickly the virus was entering the U.S. from Europe – until it was too late – in addition to poor guidance on mask-wearing, a delay in informing the public that the coronavirus was airborne, and a lackadaisical approach to establishing testing for new COVID-19 variants.
The CDC has also been taken to task for their recent response to the new monkeypox outbreak as well.
“I feel like it’s my responsibility to lead this agency to a better place after a really challenging three years,” Walensky said.