Photo: Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies in Washington, July 20, 2021.

CDC director admits staff errors in internal letter – ABC News

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walinsky, gave a remarkable acknowledgment of her agency’s failures during COVID-19 A pandemic because it delivered a message to its employees Wednesday.

Her message, presented in an internal video seen by ABC News, addressed staff about the agency’s reform plan, after an internal review found that the CDC’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic fell short of crisis.

“Frankly, we are responsible for some dramatic public errors,” Walinsky told the camera in front of a blue CDC backdrop.

Photo: Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies in Washington, July 20, 2021.

Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testifies in Washington, July 20, 2021.

Stephanie Reynolds/Paul/Getty Images

“As an agency, even with all the great work we do, we continue to suffer the consequences of these mistakes. After more than 18 months of service in this position, he has learned and lived the many lessons of our response to COVID-19, receiving feedback from many with parties This is the time to take a step back and strategically position the CDC to facilitate and support the future of public health,” Walinsky said.

She added that these conversations resulted in “loud and clear” key principles to “strengthen public health action and communication; conduct and disseminate exceptional science” and “serve our partners, prioritizing the American people.”

“Collectively, we are all being asked to look to the future and build a stronger Center for Disease Control and Prevention to address what lies ahead,” Walinsky said. “This is a watershed moment for us.”

“We must focus, take appropriate action, and drive the systemic changes needed to equally protect the health, safety and security of all Americans” — especially because the pandemic is not over and neither is her agency’s response to it, she said.

Walensky’s message, delivered in a more than 14-minute recording, follows a scathing internal review of how the CDC has handled COVID-19, which found its approach to the pandemic failed to meet the moment of crisis and offered a series of changes aimed at renewing Agency and make it smarter.

This review, which Walensky requested in April, comes after the CDC came under repeated fire for its confused and inconsistent messaging about COVID mitigation measures.

Photo: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency Operations Center stands in Atlanta, March 19, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Operations Center is located in Atlanta, March 19, 2021.

Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

During interviews with nearly 120 agency employees and key outside stakeholders, the review found that “the CDC takes too long to publish its data and science for decision making,” that its guidance is “confusing and confusing,” and that agency staff turnover during the COVID response “created gaps and challenges.” other partners,” according to findings obtained by ABC News.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and our agency-wide response are far from over. Our important work continues,” Walinsky said in her video. “There have been too many tragic deaths from this virus and we must do everything we can to prevent more.”

She noted that the risk of the spread of other infectious diseases means that it is time for public health infrastructures to bolster their defenses.

“Now the global outbreak of monkeypox requires more attention and efforts,” Walinsky said. “We will continue to activate the people and resources needed to accomplish our mission in the field of public health.”

In the video, Walensky promised to “develop new systems and processes to fairly deliver all of the CDC’s scientific and program activities to the American people,” with “update data, laboratory capacity, rapid response to disease outbreaks, and preparedness in and around the United States.”

“These changes will inform what the CDC can do during the pandemic, along with every day during the normal operations of our communicable and non-communicable disease portfolios to ensure that CDC’s science reaches the public in a timely and actionable way,” she said. .

“We must also strengthen the agency’s ability to respond to public health threats,” she said. “This is a top priority at the agency level to respond when we are asked.”

Walinsky emphasized the importance of “breaking down organizational silos in favor of the ‘one-off’ mentality of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” increasing accountability and supporting equity efforts across the agency, she said.

“Change is hard. I know. This is our time for change. We will all need to roll up our sleeves moving forward with the CDC,” Walinsky said, “and “apply” the lessons” of COVID-19 learned “by “participating in scientific findings and data in an active way.” faster. “

“The future of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depends on applying the lessons of the past few years, whether it is under my supervision or the director of the future CDC, no matter who sits in the seat, an honest and unbiased reading of our recent history will lead to the same result. It’s time for the CDC to change.”

“I realize that our growth will include some uncomfortable moments for many of us,” Walinsky said. “We will hold ourselves accountable and be open to feedback.” “I owe it to you for working hard with the agency’s leadership to make CDC even better, and I’m grateful to have you with me on this.”

ABC News’s Cheyenne Haslett and Eric M. Strauss.

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