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CDC review of COVID-19 guidance from 1st year of pandemic found some didn?t meet scientific standards

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  • CDC review of COVID-19 guidance from 1st year of pandemic found some didn?t meet scientific standards

    Published 6 hours ago
    By Megan Ziegler

    An internal review of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?s COVID-19 guidance from the first year of the pandemic during the Trump administration found some documents were not "grounded in science" or "free of undue influence."

    The review was ordered by President Joe Biden?s CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, as part of her pledge to "restore scientific credibility and public?s trust in the agency" amid the ongoing pandemic.

    "CDC bases public health decisions on the highest quality scientific information that is attained openly and objectively. During the first year of the pandemic, there were concerns about some of CDC?s guidance," said a CDC spokesperson on why the review was ordered.

    Agency Guidance Review

    DATE: March 10, 2021

    TO: Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH Director, CDC, and Administrator, ATSDR

    FROM: Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS, Ret.) Principal Deputy Director, CDC

    SUBJECT: Summary of Guidance Review

    As part of your pledge to lead an effort to restore the public?s trust in the CDC, you asked me to begin a comprehensive review to ensure that all of CDC?s existing guidance related to COVID-19 is evidence- based and free of politics.

    In response to the dynamic circumstances of emerging infections and public health emergency responses, CDC has customarily issued ?interim? guidance documents that are updated as new information and insights are gained, once novel interventions become available including through emergency use authorization, or once research reveals greater certainty that permits strengthening or rejecting earlier interim recommendations. CDC staff have developed thousands of documents during the COVID-19 response, including foundational guidance documents that address major areas of concern as well as numerous subsidiary tools and resources adapted from the foundational guidance.

    At your request, I led a process to rapidly assess the major or foundational guidance the agency had issued in order to identify primary documents that needed updating or removal. I also sought to identify practices that could strengthen the transparency of the evidentiary basis for CDC?s COVID-19 guidance. In addition to my own review, I sought review of the process and results from current and former Incident Managers and Principal Deputy Incident Managers of CDC?s Emergency Response, as well as key Center Directors. The review also included a general assessment of the approach to cross-clearancewithin the Incident Management Structure?s task forces (Appendix 1) as well as how the CDC website alerts readers to changes in guidance and relationships between the evidence-base and various guidance documents.