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CDC director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged on Wednesday flaws in her institution’s response to the covid-19 pandemic and advocated reforming the agency to make it more agile in emergencies.
In a message to CDC employees, Walensky detailed that the institution will focus more on providing clear public health recommendations and making relevant scientific findings available to the public instead of focusing so much on academic research.
According to Walensky, CDC and the public health system had been preparing for covid-19 for 75 years, and at the critical moment, its response did not live up to expectations.
Although Walensky’s message does not reveal concrete actions, the doctor appointed Mary Wakefield — Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services for Health, Education, and Welfare during the Barack Obama Administration (2009-2017)— to lead this reform of the institution.
The words of the director of the public disease prevention agency come after a four-month investigation ordered by Walensky to evaluate the agency’s structure and processes.
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Since the pandemic began, the CDC has faced criticism for its frequent changes in criteria regarding appropriate measures to prevent infections, its standards for allowing testing, and its reluctance to disclose essential data on disease transmission.