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Deborah Birx weighs in on CDC reform

Deborah L. Birx, MD
 

The CDC needs to start opening itself up to working with the private sector and more transparently communicating how it makes recommendations, Deborah Birx, former President Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

Why it matters: Her comments came in the aftermath of CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s plans to reform the agency.

What she’s saying: “In March of 2020, all of our data that I used to used to warn Americans of who was at risk for severe disease, hospitalization and death came from our European colleagues. That, in itself, should be an indictment of our system.”

Zoom in: She pointed to the CDC’s poor systems used for data sharing.

  • “Reporting was coming in extraordinarily slow from hospitals through a system that CDC created. I know this created controversy but for three months I asked the CDC to fix its system and develop a partnership with clinics and hospitals and laboratories and they wouldn’t,” Birx said.
  • “Sometimes we hold ourselves back. The private sector is willing to help us,” Birx said.

Birx also critiqued the CDC guidance — and the lack of transparency about supporting data — on how long people should isolate after testing positive for COVID.

  • “They have to change how they collect data, how they present data and how they communicate to the American people,” she said.
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