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CDC director lays out agency overhaul plan following pandemic missteps

Yahoo Finance reporter Anjalee Khemlani breaks down the CDC director's recent comments about the agency's missteps throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Video transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: Sweeping changes are coming to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announcing an overhaul of the CDC following the agency's missteps in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anjalee Khemlani has the details for us. Anj, what are we learning?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, we got word about the CDC director basically meeting with senior staff and talking about how much the CDC has come under fire over the last two years, essentially-- but really, even after the Biden administration took over, and in the first public sort of admission saying, quote, "for 75 years, the CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19. And in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations." Really a strong admission there about the confusion that's really been happening.

The CDC has really just been criticized so much over-- especially in the last few months with the relaxation of guidelines, especially, and being confusing, and often giving people what seems like whiplash when it comes to the change in policy. So really a strong move there.

SEANA SMITH: And, Anj, we have some of the details of this plan here up on the screen-- but more specifically, what exactly should we expect some of these sweeping changes to entail?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Absolutely. So first of all, on that communication portion, sharing data and faster, and science learnings and faster-- right now, we waited for the CDC to complete all of their review of the data and then publish. That's why you saw weeks-- the information come out weeks after it was actually useful. They're trying to share it in sort of a pre-print.

We've gotten so used to that over this pandemic, right? Pre-prints are the name of the game-- get it out first and get it out fast. So looking to do that. Easier to understand policies. And shifting the way that they do promotions. Right now, the CDC focus is on how many publications you get in one of those scientific journals, for example, to help push you through your promotion. They're going to look on people who are more dedicated to actual public health activity in order to do.

So that's really a big one. Also, restructuring who responds to the director. They're now ensuring that more information gets streamlined straight to the director. And then the last really big one out there is the new office to streamline communication between states, territories, other jurisdictions and federal agencies, which we saw such a breakdown over the pandemic. So a lot really happening in there.