In one (n open letter releases 1,044 former and current officers this week of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, a prestigious scholarship program The focuses on research and emergency response and expressed concern about the diminished role of the public health authority during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter had one clear Demand: Take the CDC from the bank.
The letter published in the magazine Epidemiology monitor, was written by doctors, nurses, scientists, and other health professionals who are past or current members of the EIS program. It was signed by two former CDC directors, Jeffrey Koplan, who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Tom Frieden, who served under President Barack Obama.
The letter highlighted the fact that in previous public health crises, the CDC provided the public with the best information and advice available. In addition, research results were collected and applied by scientists from the agency and worldwide.
But this CDC is barely recognizable today, write the former and current agency officials. They also state that during the Covid-19 pandemic there was a “threatening politicization and shutdown of the national health protection authority”.
“The lack of national leadership on Covid-19 is unprecedented and dangerous,” the letter said. “The US epidemic is carried by deadly chains of transmission that run across the country. However, states and territories have had to invent their own distinct systems to define, diagnose, and report cases of this highly contagious disease. Inconsistent contact tracing efforts are limited to state borders – unfortunately, coronavirus infections are not. “
This situation, the letter reads, is “chaos” that the CDC has avoided in the past by working with state and local health authorities to develop national disease surveillance and coordinated control systems.
“CDC should be at the forefront of a successful response to this global public health emergency,” write CDC officials, both former and current. “We urge the American people to demand, and our nation’s leaders, to allow the CDC to resume its indispensable role.”
So far, this role has undoubtedly been ubiquitous and certainly not at the forefront. From being bullied to support President Donald Trump’s move Reopen schools recommended against testing asymptomatic individuals who have been exposed to the virus (what it went back later), The agency hasn’t been the science and safety beacon we expect during a pandemic.
To be fair to the CDC, the dysfunction it is currently in is directly related to the hot mess the Trump administration has reportedly made interfered under the guidance and public communication of the CDC. It is also difficult to give the public the best advice, such as the absolute need to Wear face masks to reduce virus transmission when the country’s president makes fun of his democratic opponent for wearing a mask. (If you all remember, Trump tested positive for covid-19 shortly after former Vice President Joe Biden was taunted for wearing a mask).
While well-meaning, It’s hard to imagine that the letter will inspire the powers that be – aka the Trump administration – to let the CDC do its job and protect Americans. But while it may fall on deaf ears now, there is is an election is pending. If Biden wins, it is very likely that this letter will be relevant to his future administration and that the CDC will see a change in its role.
We have to wait and see.