The review found that some guidance “used less direct language than available evidence supported,” “needed to be updated to reflect the latest scientific evidence” and “presented the underlying science base for guidance inconsistently,” according to the spokesperson.
“I am focused on moving CDC forward with science, transparency and clarity leading the way. It is imperative for the American people to trust CDC. If they don’t, preventable illness and injury can occur — and, tragically, lives can and will be lost,” Walensky said in a statement to CNN.
“This agency and its critical health information cannot be vulnerable to undue influence, and this report helps outline our path to rebuilding confidence and ensuring the information that CDC shares with the American people is based on sound science that will keep us, our loved ones, and our communities healthy and safe.”
While conducting the review, Walensky wrote that she “found it too difficult” to tell whether a new document represented a major or very minor update to existing guidance, and to decipher what the core recommendations were in long documents.
Some documents also were removed or replaced from the CDC’s website during the review. The review names the document that had been previously removed as “The Importance of Reopening of America’s Schools this Fall,” while the document “Overview of Testing for SARS-COV-2” had been replaced. According to the review, a link to the document “Opening up America Again” also was removed from the website.
Walensky noted in the review that “there was not a consistent practice of publicizing the supporting evidence in a scientific brief in conjunction with every major new guidance.” But, she added, “We are now committed to providing updated science briefs if there is research to inform guidance updates.”
Walensky wrote that the CDC “will finalize production and reviews of remaining prioritized new guidance” in the weeks ahead. Walensky laid out several recommendations for moving forward, including making it clear what scientific evidence was used for major new guidance documents, as well as planning media briefings when new guidance is released, along with several other recommendations.
This story has been updated with additional background information.
CNN’s Stephen Collinson, Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Cohen contributed to this report.