Transcript for CDC director acknowledges ‘botched’ pandemic response
- That stunning admission from the CDC admitting failures during the COVID pandemic, CDC Director Dr. Walensky calling this a watershed moment.
- And she is now ordering a complete overhaul of the agency. Erielle Reshef is live outside a hospital here in New York with more. Good morning, Erielle.
- Good morning to you, Robin. As you know, the CDC has been under scrutiny for its confusing messaging and guidance. And now that stark review, acknowledging the missteps during this COVID 19 pandemic, the director saying now is the time for change.
This morning the CDC director promising a major overhaul after a scathing, internally initiated review found the agency repeatedly botched its response to the pandemic. In a statement, Dr. Rochelle Walensky putting it bluntly. "Our performance did not reliably meet expectations."
In a message to staff viewed by ABC News, she went on to say "to be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes. From testing, to data, to communications-- as an agency, even with all the terrific work we do, we still suffer the consequences from these mistakes."
Walensky herself calling for that review, studying the CDC's handling of the pandemic during both this and the previous administration. It found the CDC's recommendations throughout the crisis, from masking to vaccines, confusing and overwhelming.
- It's, like, contradicting. It's, like, a lot of stuff going on. Oh, don't do this, don't do that. And then we have to listen to both.
ERIELLE RESHEF: The director now vowing to implement major changes, including to the center's website, which the review said is not easy to navigate, as well as staffing shakeups and sharing information faster in plain language, easy to understand.
But as the CDC tries to move from tackling the COVID crisis to the rise of monkeypox, fresh criticism and concern that it took three months from the first diagnosed case in the US for the agency to declare a public health emergency.
- These key steps that they have laid out really are critical, especially in the face of this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this continued spread of monkeypox in the United States, and also a recent identification of a polio case in New York. These things are just reminders that public health emergencies will continue to pop up, and CDC needs to be prepared.
- And still no clear timeline for when the CDC will implement those sweeping changes, Robin.
- And Erielle, monkeypox cases are now hitting more than 13,000, but the administration's saying it's prepared?
ERIELLE RESHEF: That's right, Robin, and there are now at least nine presumptive cases of monkeypox in children confirmed in this country. The White House now has a team in place to tackle this outbreak. They're expected to hold a briefing later this morning. We should learn more about their strategy in the coming hours. Robin?
- All right, Erielle, thank you so much.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.