Among other flaws, public guidance during the coronavirus pandemic was “confusing and overwhelming,” the agency said.

By Sharon LaFraniere and Noah Weiland

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Wednesday delivered a sweeping rebuke of her agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it had failed to respond quickly enough and needed to be overhauled.

“To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes, from testing to data to communications,” she said in a video distributed to the agency’s roughly 11,000 employees.

Dr. Walensky said the C.D.C.’s future depended on whether it could absorb the lessons of the last few years, during which much of the public lost trust in the agency’s ability to handle a pandemic that has killed more than 1 milliaon Americans. “This is our watershed moment. We must pivot,” she said.

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