CDC structure to be reorganized due to departmental mistakes in the fight against Covid-19

CDC structure to be reorganized due to departmental mistakes in the fight against Covid-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leadership said that after months of criticism of the agency’s failure to respond to the COVID-19 and monkeypox pandemics, public health concerns will be a priority in updating the CDC structure.

In a statement issued by the agency Wednesday, it said an outside report on the pandemic response showed that recommendations issued by the agency to the public caused confusion and important information about federal decisions was sometimes published late.

CDC Director Rochelle Walenski said today that the agency is making a number of changes to its structure. The changes are designed to make the agency more nimble in responding to disease outbreaks, speed up data reporting and focus less on publishing scientific articles.

“For 75 years, the CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and at this important time, the results of our actions have not met expectations,” Walenski said, referring to CDC staff.

“I want us all to be more successful, and that starts with CDC leadership,” she said, adding that the focus will be on creating an “action-oriented system,” including improved accountability, collaboration, communication and timeliness of action.

Plans to modernize the agency include giving the CDC new authority to require states to turn over data and changes that would allow the CDC to hire employees faster and offer higher salaries, according to a background paper that was made available to Reuters. Both actions would require congressional approval.

Mary Wakefield, the former acting undersecretary of Health and Human Services in the Barack Obama administration, will lead a team to help implement the restructuring, the agency said.

The moves follow Walenski’s external review of the COVID-19 pandemic in April.

To facilitate better communication, Walenski wants to create an online mechanism to share results before they are fully published and speed up the data verification process.