Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky admitted to the agency’s faults after an external review eviscerated its COVID-19 response. She announced a series of initiatives to “modernize and improve” its performance.

According to The Hill:

The review, begun in April, comes after the CDC faced heavy criticism for its stumbles both in the early days of the pandemic and more recently, with critics pointing to confusing guidance and slow responses.

Walensky effectively acknowledged that at least some of the criticism is valid, and the agency announced a series of steps on Wednesday seeking to modernize and improve its responses.  

The review, led by Jim Macrae, an official in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), included findings such as that the CDC should “share scientific findings and data faster,” according to a top-line summary released by the CDC, and “be transparent about the agency’s current level of understanding.”

The agency said in a summary of potential changes that its “guidance documents are confusing and overwhelming; the website is not easy to navigate.” 

It said it is considering restructuring its website and producing “plain language” guidance.  

The CDC first faced heat for its COVID-19 response in the early days of the pandemic for problems plaguing testing that left the country unaware of the full extent of the virus’s spread. 

But even more recently under President Biden, the agency has faced criticism for shifting or confusing guidance in areas ranging from masking to isolation. At the end of last year, for example, the CDC faced questions when it did not include a requirement to test negative before leaving isolation after it cut the isolation time for many people infected with the virus from 10 days to five days.

While the new review focused on the response to COVID-19, the CDC has also faced criticism for its response to monkeypox, which some experts say shows the public health system has not learned lessons from COVID-19.  

Read more at The Hill.

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