CDC director acknowledges mistakes to staff in internal message

CDC director acknowledges mistakes to staff in internal message

“This is our watershed moment,” Walensky told CDC employees.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky made a remarkable acknowledgment of her agency's failures during the COVID-19 pandemic as she delivered a message to her staff Wednesday.

Her message, given in an internal video viewed by ABC News, addressed employees about the plan to overhaul the agency, following an internally initiated review which found that the CDC's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic fell short of the crisis.

“To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes. From testing, to data, to communications,” Walensky said to the camera in front of a blue CDC backdrop.

PHOTO: Rochelle Walensky, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testifies in Washington, July 20, 2021.

Rochelle Walensky, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testifies in Washington, July 20, 2021. Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images

“As an agency, even with all the terrific work we do, we still suffer the consequences from these mistakes. After over 18 months serving in this position, learning and living the many lessons from our COVID-19 response, and receiving feedback from many internal and external interested parties, this is the right time to take a step back and strategically position CDC to facilitate and support the future of public health,” Walensky said.

MORE: Review finds CDC mishandled COVID-19 pandemic response

Those conversations, she added, yielded “loud and clear” key principles to “promote public health action and communication; conduct and disseminate exceptional science,” and “serve our partners, prioritizing the American people first.”

“All of us collectively are being asked to look to the future and build a stronger CDC to tackle what lies ahead. This is our watershed moment,” Walensky said.

“We must pivot, take appropriate action, and lead the systemic changes required to equitably protect health, safety and security of all Americans,” she said — especially because neither the pandemic nor her agency's response to it, is finished.

MORE: CDC no longer requires unvaccinated to quarantine after being exposed to COVID

Walensky's message, delivered in a more than 14-minute recording, follows a scathing internally initiated review of how the CDC handled COVID-19, which found its approach toward the pandemic failed to meet the moment of crisis and offered a series of changes intended to revamp the agency and make it more nimble.

That review, ordered by Walensky in April, comes after the CDC had come under frequent fire for its muddled and inconsistent messaging on COVID mitigation measures.

PHOTO: The Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stands in Atlanta, March 19, 2021.

The Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stands in Atlanta, March 19, 2021. Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

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

MORE: Updated COVID boosters could be available in 3 weeks, White House predicts

“The COVID-19 pandemic and our agency-wide response is not over. Our important work continues,” Walensky said in her video. “There have been too many tragic deaths from this virus and we must do all we can to prevent more.”

The threat of other infectious diseases' spread means now is the time for public health infrastructures to shore up their defenses, she noted.

“Now the global monkeypox outbreak requires increased attention and efforts,” Walensky said. “We will continue to activate the personnel and resources necessary to fulfill our public health mission.”

In the video, Walensky promised to “develop new systems and processes to equitably deliver all of CDC science and program activities to the American people,” with “data modernization, laboratory capacity, rapid response to disease outbreaks, and preparedness within the US and around the world.”

“These changes will inform what CDC can do during a pandemic, along with every day during normal operations in our infectious and non-infectious disease portfolios to ensure a CDC science reaches the public in a timely and implementable manner,” she said.

“We must also strengthen the agency's ability to respond to public health threats,” she said. “This is an agency-wide top priority to respond when we are called upon.”

Walensky emphasized the importance of “breaking down organizational silos in favor of a 'One CDC mindset,'” increasing accountability and supporting equity efforts across the agency, she said.

“Change is hard. I know that. This is our time to change. And we will all need to roll up our sleeves to move CDC forward,” Walensky said, and “apply” the “COVID-19 lessons learned” by “sharing scientific findings and data faster.”

“The future of CDC is dependent upon applying the lessons learned from the last few years, whether it's under my direction or a future CDC director, regardless of who is sitting in the seat, an honest and unbiased read of our recent history will yield the same conclusion. It is time for CDC to change,” she said.

“I recognize that our growth will involve some uncomfortable moments for many of us. We will hold ourselves accountable and we will be open to feedback,” Walensky said. “I owe it to you to work hard with the agency's leadership to make CDC better and I'm grateful to have you in this with me.”

ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett and Eric M. Strauss contributed to this report.

Related TopicsCoronavirus

News Related

OTHER NEWS

The Outrageous, Republic-Distorting Census Error You've Heard Nothing About | Opinion

People use an umbrella to shelter from the Sun while looking at the Washington Memorial in Washington, DC, on July 23, 2022. Not content with the U.S. Supreme Court’s perverse ... Read more »

Report: Chelsea Will Try To Sign RB Leipzig Defender Josko Gvardiol

Chelsea will try for Josko Gvardiol after they finalise the signing of Christopher Nkunku. View the original article to see embedded media. It could be double trouble for RB Leipzig ... Read more »

10 of the Best Sam's Club Deals for October 2022

A man pushing a shopping cart through the aisles of a warehouse store. Given the global drama of the past few years, it may be difficult to believe that another ... Read more »

Man Tries To Kiss Cobra, Gets Bitten in Face Now Battling for Life

Stock photo of a King Cobra snake A man was bitten in the face by a cobra after he tried to kiss it, and is now battling for his life ... Read more »

Should iShares Russell MidCap Value ETF (IWS) Be on Your Investing Radar?

If you’re interested in broad exposure to the Mid Cap Value segment of the US equity market, look no further than the iShares Russell MidCap Value ETF (IWS), a passively ... Read more »

What changed for Mets — and what didn’t — after revealing Braves sweep

USA TODAY Sports There was an awful simplicity to the Mets’ sweep in Atlanta. No cosmic bad luck, no pratfalls, no ill-timed injury — none of the “lol that’s so ... Read more »

Coronation Street SPOILER: Corrie killer Stephen Reid is mugged by thugs before suffering a major crash - after shocking Leo Thompkins murder

Coronation Street fans are in for an incredibly dramatic season if latest pictures from set are anything to go by. Star of the soap, Todd Boyce, 61, who plays killer ... Read more »

Houses of worship: Federal judge tosses lawsuit challenging Chestnut Ridge zoning law

Chestnut Ridge Mayor Rosario Sam Presti listens to opponents make one final plea to protest over Places of Worship (POW) law before the Chestnut Ridge Board of Trustees make a ... Read more »

Geriatric hospitals can now accept foreign workers as caregivers

An elderly woman walks through a corridor of a retirement home as visits have been restricted due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns, in Grevenbroich According to a new decision ... Read more »

Supreme Court with Justice Jackson faces major tests on race

Supreme Court with Justice Jackson faces major tests on race The justices will hear cases on affirmative action, gay rights, and environment. At the U.S. Supreme Court, the siege may ... Read more »

Homecoming mum makers find community to help their small businesses grow

Mums Inc. bonds mum makers nationwide and beyond Read more »

The UK scraps a proposed tax cut for wealthy that sparked market turmoil

British Prime Minister Liz Truss at the Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham, England on Sunday. Truss and her Treasury chief have spent the last 10 days defending the cut ... Read more »

Frances Tiafoe eager to pave the way for black tennis stars

Rising tennis star Frances Tiafoe hopes that "a lot of people who look like" him will be playing tennis in the future. Read more »

Florida leaders defend evacuation orders as death toll from Hurricane Ian rises

NORTH PORT, Fl. (KDKA) — As the death toll from Hurricane Ian continues to rise in Florida, local leaders are now defending their evacuation plans that were put in place ... Read more »

Ohio man facing charges after 125 mph chase ends in Trumbull County crash

Ohio man facing charges after 125 mph chase ends in Trumbull County crash NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – A suspect is facing charges after a police chase and crash that ... Read more »

The 7 Best Long-Term Stocks to Buy Now

It’s imperative to understand that not all of the best long-term stocks are typically high risk, high reward. They require investors to believe in their long-term potential to gain traction ... Read more »

King Charles III in first engagement since queen's death

King Charles III in first engagement since queen's death King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, have visited Scotland in their first joint public engagement since the ... Read more »

Stocks Making the Biggest Moves in the Premarket: Credit Suisse, Tesla, Myovant Sciences and More

Take a look at some of the biggest movers in the premarket: Credit Suisse (CS) – Credit Suisse slid 6.1% in premarket trading after the bank sought to calm the ... Read more »

A housing ‘crash?’ What lower prices mean for homeowners and hopeful buyers.

A housing ‘crash?’ What lower prices mean for homeowners and hopeful buyers. NERDWALLET This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  Some would-be home buyers are rooting for a full-on ... Read more »

How House of the Dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

Corlys and Rhaenys are heartbroken over the tragedy they think has occurred (Picture: HBO) Warning: spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode 7. The battle between the greens and ... Read more »

What scientists learned about a Bay Area fault that could unleash a magnitude 6.9 earthquake

A new study shines a light on a system of earthquake faults in the San Francisco Bay Area that most residents don’t even know exists. The Foothill Thrust Belt faults ... Read more »

Why did Pete Best leave The Beatles? Where is band’s original drummer now, what has Paul McCartney said

A series of rare photographs have been released which show performing at The Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1961. The Fab Four as they were affectionately known became one of ... Read more »

Train strikes October 2022: timetables and affected services on dates of the next RMT, Aslef and Unite strikes

(Photo by NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP via Getty Images) Rail passengers will face more major disruption on the railways this week as the next in a affects services up and down the ... Read more »

ABC, ESPN, and Other Disney Channels Blocked on Dish and Sling TV

Dish Disney logos Some customers of Dish and Sling TV likely got a rude shock when they sat down to watch television this weekend: The two television providers have dropped ... Read more »

Royal Mint reveals 10 rarest 50p coins in circulation including Peter Rabbit and Kew Gardens - full list

Royal Mint has unveiled a list of the top 10 rarest and most valuable versions of the 50 pence coin currently in circulation. The move to the ‘new money’ of ... Read more »

Blue Ridge Rock Festival: It's more than just a Festival

A long-awaited post-pandemic escape, The Blue Ridge Rock Fest was back for a five-day, jammed-packed music spectacle! Located deep in the great state of Virginia at the Virginia International Raceway ... Read more »

Friends who bonded over their weight loss mission drop 14 stone between them

Gaynor Hayes and Gill Beckford have seen a 14st weight loss between them. (Collect/PA Real Life) Two friends who bonded over their weight loss struggles at work have shed over ... Read more »

Poland sends diplomatic note to Germany demanding World War II reparations

Archive – Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock. – Kay Nietfeld/dpa Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on Monday signed a diplomatic note, to be sent ... Read more »

Cowboys vs. Commanders: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 4

Cowboys vs. Commanders: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 4 Cooper Rush does it again! The Dallas Cowboys 25-10 victory over the division rival Washington Commanders extends ... Read more »

Kwasi Kwarteng confuses Royal family funding as he refers to payment model which was scrapped ten years ago (and he should know - he sets the profits for it!)

Embattled Chancellor made the blunder under grilling from LBC's Nick Ferrari Mr Kwarteng stated the Crown's income derived from the Civil List - a historic funding arrangement in place since 1760 that was abolished a decade ago Mistake was picked up by eagle-eyed royal commentators who corrected him  Read more »

Brendan Rodgers hopes the derby battle with Forest can jolt Leicester City back to life

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing the derby clash with Nottingham Forest as a big opportunity to revive his team's season. Read more »

Arsenal's next six Premier League fixtures compared to Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man Utd

Arsenal continued their fine form when they returned from the international break, registering a huge 3-1 win over North London rivals Tottenham. Goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Granit ... Read more »

4-year-old girl killed in Kane County crash, authorities say

A 4-year-old girl has died after a west suburban crash, the medical examiner said. The crash happened at about 6:40 p.m. on Saturday. Police responded near Route 38 and Francis ... Read more »

Plain two-bedroom goes on sale for £335,000 but it’s hiding a very creepy secret… can you spot it?

A PLAIN two-bedroom property has gone on sale for £335,000 – but beware, as it's hiding quite the creepy secret. The sellers seem to be throwing in a sinister surprise ... Read more »

Scottish Dance Theatre: Ray review – joyful post-Covid communion

I’m welcomed in with a warm hello and the offer of a cushion, for sitting on the floor around the edges of the stage. There’s no hiding at the back ... Read more »

Temporary relief at the pump in Florida due to gastax holiday

The next time you fill up your tank, you might be pleasantly surprised. Florida’s new gas tax holiday went into effect yesterday for the whole month of October. Action News ... Read more »

Florida remains outside of AP Poll after Week 5

Florida remains outside of AP Poll after Week 5 The Florida Gators are still outside the AP Poll Top 25 after week six of the college football season. The poll ... Read more »

An Autumn Covid Wave Is Here. Do We Need To Panic About It?

Will anything change this autumn as Covid cases soar? (Photo: Catherine McQueen via Getty Images) Will anything change this autumn as Covid cases soar? (Photo: Catherine McQueen via Getty Images) ... Read more »

Don’t Be The Guy That Didn’t Buy Uniglo.io (GLO) And Missed Out Like Most On Bitcoin (BTC) And Ethereum (ETH)

If you’re like most people, you heard of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in passing and said to yourself, “yeah, this is for computer geeks,” and didn’t pay much attention ... Read more »

Monday Freedom Kicks: DMV soccer sadness & more

Monday Freedom Kicks: DMV soccer sadness & more HI there, well the weather was symbolic for the soccer or something, I guess! Recaps of D.C. United’s 1-0 loss to the ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network