Author Archive

Sam Whitehead


The CDC works to overhaul lab operations after COVID test flop

A design flaw and contamination during production at the CDC led its initial tests to give false positive results.


As Federal Emergency Declaration Expires, the Picture of the Pandemic Grows Fuzzier

"The pandemic gave federal officials expanded power to access crucial data about the spread of COVID-19, but that authority will change when the public health emergency sunsets in May. That, along with the end of popular COVID trackers, will make it harder for policymakers and the public to keep an eye on COVID and other threats.


Congress Told HHS to Set Up a Health Data Network in 2006. The Agency Still Hasn’t.

Since 2006, federal officials have been charged with setting up a network to let various parts of the U.S. health system share information during emergencies. It still hasn’t been built or even planned, even after the communication and data-sharing failures put on display during the pandemic.


Much of the CDC Is Working Remotely. That Could Make Changing the Agency Difficult.

Like many U.S. workplaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went remote during the pandemic. Most of the agency’s staff members haven’t returned to the office full time, raising concerns about the CDC’s ability to reform itself after recent stumbles.


Meet Mary Wakefield, the Nurse Administrator Tasked with Revamping the CDC

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has tapped Mary Wakefield to help “reset” the agency after its public failures handling the covid pandemic. Those who know Wakefield say her high standards and problem-solving skills make her a good fit for the job.


Boost Now or Wait? Many Wonder How Best to Ride Out COVID's Next Wave

Many undervaccinated Americans have lost interest, and others aren’t sure whether to get boosted again now or wait for vaccines reformulated to target newer strains of the virus.


States Have Yet to Spend Hundreds of Millions of Federal Dollars to Tackle COVID Health Disparities

A year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded states and local health departments $2.25 billion to help people of color and other populations at higher risk from COVID. But a KHN review shows public health agencies across the country have been slow to spend it.


Judge’s Ruling on the CDC Mask Mandate Highlights the Limits of the Agency’s Power

A recent court decision that overturns one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s few pandemic rules — masks required on public transportation — spotlights how little power remains in federal hands to enforce public health protections.