With the Biden administration still calling for more funding to help them fight COVID-19, it appears the CDC is looking to restructure itself after the backlash they received during the pandemic. Although the Democrats and Dr. Anthony Fauci continue to warn about the coronavirus and the several variants that followed, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted to the changes as part of a reset for the CDC.
After a New York Times report found that many people believed the COVID-19 advice given by the CDC to be overpowering and confusing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky sent an email reading, “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. As a long-time admirer of this agency and a champion for public health, I want us all to do better.” The email, sent to over 11,000 employees, added, “My goal is a new, public health action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness.”
Although Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the changes, she first has to get approval from the Department of Health and Human Services. Still, some of the changes proposed by the director included:
- Increasing use of preprint scientific reports to get out actionable data, instead of waiting for research to go through peer review and publication by the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
- Restructuring the agency’s communications office and further revamping CDC websites to make the agency’s guidance for the public more clear and easier to find.
- Altering the length of time agency leaders are devoted to outbreak responses to a minimum of six months — an effort to address a turnover problem that at times caused knowledge gaps and affected the agency’s communications.
- Creation of a new executive council to help Walensky set strategy and priorities.
- Appointing Mary Wakefield as senior counselor to implement the changes. Wakefield headed the Health Resources and Services Administration during the Obama administration and also served as the No. 2 administrator at HHS. Wakefield, 68, started Monday.
- Altering the agency’s organization chart to undo some changes made during the Trump administration.
- Establishing an office of intergovernmental affairs to smooth partnerships with other agencies, as well as a higher-level office on health equity.
Following the email, Greta Massetti, the Chief of Field Epidemiology and Prevention at the CDC, claimed the COVID-19 conditions are different from what they were two years ago. “The current conditions of this pandemic are extremely different from those of the prior two years. High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection and the many available tools to prevent to the general population and protect people at higher risk allow us to focus on protecting people from serious illness from Covid-19.”