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The United States' response to the COVID-19 pandemic was sub­ optimal. One problem in it was the politicization of the public health response. One aspect of that politicization was aggressive political intervention in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) efforts to provide guidance and help pandemic response. The concern was strong enough that four previous CDC Directors, in an unusual step, published an op-ed calling out political intervention in the CDC. This article proposes two changes to strengthen the CDC's institutional independence: codifying the CDC's role in preventing diseases and reducing harms in a statute, and restructuring the agency to be led by a multi-member board appointed for long times and with removal protections ( along the lines of the Board of the Federal Reserve System). These changes can send a strong message that expert advice in public health should be science-based and less, rather than more, political. It can also protect CDC's long-standing independence, while preserving some political control.

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