As global health threats evolved, the CDC didn’t

Los Angeles Times
August 20, 2022

Vanquishing disease is in the DNA of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that in its first decade of existence oversaw the eradication of smallpox, the elimination of malaria and the stamping out of polio as threats to Americans’ health.

But as the director of the 75-year-old agency acknowledged this week, the CDC hasn’t evolved to keep up with the faster speed and higher stakes of germs in the modern world.

In the face of a historic threat — the emergence of a novel virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans — “our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CDC employees in a bracing call for change...

Lorien Abroms, who teaches public health communications strategy at George Washington University, is optimistic that the CDC can overcome its record of pandemic mistakes.

“Sure they can reform themselves,” she said. “They came from a place of greatness. We used to lead the world on epidemiological intelligence. I definitely think we can go back to that.”

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