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Monday, September 26, 2022

The Pandemic Team at the CDC Will Hand Over Some of Their Responsibilities

On Friday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the team that coordinated the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic would return some of its functions to other departments. This announcement came just a few short weeks after the CDC began a comprehensive internal review with an eye toward restructuring.

The action marks the beginning of attempts to put in place substantial reforms at the agency, whose status in the public eye and reputation over the last several years have eroded. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that over sixty percent of American adults said they are perplexed by the modifications that have been made to official pandemic guidance.

However, the letter from Dr. Walensky was lacking in specifics with relation to the adjustments. The director will now synthesise the information, identify themes, and prioritise next steps in order to formalise approaches and find new ways to adapt the agency to the changing environment, according to a statement that was issued in response to questions from The New York Times. The statement only said that the “initial data collection phase” of the review had been completed.

Jim Macrae is a federal official who has held several senior positions within the Department of Health and Human Services. Last month, Dr. Walensky informed employees that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has been subjected to an onslaught of criticism over its recent handling of the pandemic, would be subjected to a review and evaluation by Macrae. The 11th of April marked the beginning of that evaluation.

The study is also looking at methods to modernise the manner in which the agency generates scientific research and uses it, as well as other ways in which strategic changes might be made to better serve the public health, such as improving surveillance systems.

According to Dr. Walensky, the reviewers have done more than 100 interviews and had almost 50 one-on-one talks with public health officials both within and outside of the agency. In addition, the reviewers have analysed the data from these interviews and conversations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long been held in high regard for the scientific approach it takes to advancing public health. Many scientists from all around the globe have received training from the agency’s specialists and have adopted the agency’s standards and procedures as their own.

However, the infrastructure of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was neglected for decades, as was the public health system in general. Early on in the epidemic, experts at the agency made a mistake by developing a diagnostic test with a defective design. They then proceeded to make various suggestions about masking, isolation, and quarantine, which opponents said were based on insufficient evidence.

On Friday, Dr. Walensky provided some indication that achieving health equality will be one of the agency’s top priorities in the years to come. The severity of the racial and ethnic health inequalities in the United States was brought into sharp relief by the epidemic. Adults of African-American, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native descent were hospitalised and died at rates that were much higher than those of white Americans.

Higher rates of preexisting health problems such as obesity and diabetes, and socioeconomic circumstances such as crowded housing and consumer-facing jobs that increased the likelihood of exposure to the virus are some of the factors that contribute to the inequities. However, the causes of the inequities are complex and multifaceted, and include the following: difficulties in gaining access to care; mistrust in the medical system; higher rates of preexisting health problems.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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