In one open letter published this week 1044 former and current officers of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Epidemic Intelligence, a well-known scholarship program that focuses on research and emergency response, expressed concern about the reduced role of the public health agency during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter had one clear search: Take the CDC from the bench.
The letter published in the magazine Epidemiology Monitor, is written by doctors, nurses, scientists and other health professionals who are former or current members of the EIS program. It was signed by two former CDC directors, Jeffrey Coplan, who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Tom Friedon, who served under President Barack Obama.
The letter highlights the fact that in previous public health crises, the CDC has provided the best available information and recommendations to the public. He also collected and applied research from scientists at the agency and around the world.
But this CDC is hardly recognizable today, write former and current employees of the agency. They also say that during the covid-19 pandemic, there was “ominous politicization and silencing of the National Health Agency.”
“The lack of national leadership of covid-19 is unprecedented and dangerous,” the letter said. “The American epidemic is supported by deadly transmission chains that cross the country. Yet countries and territories are left to devise their own different systems for identifying, diagnosing and reporting cases of this highly contagious disease. Inconsistent contact tracking efforts are limited within each country – while coronavirus infections are unfortunately not. “
This situation, the letter said, is “chaos”, something that the CDC has in the past avoided by working with state and local health authorities to develop national disease surveillance and coordinated control systems.
“The CDC must be at the forefront of successfully responding to this global public health emergency,” the former and current CDC staffers wrote. “We urgently call on the American people to ask our nation’s leaders to allow the CDC to regain its indispensable role.”
So far, this role has undoubtedly been everywhere and certainly not on the front lines. From harassment in support of President Donald Trump’s pressure resume schools for recommendation against testing of asymptomatic people who have been exposed to the virus (which later went back), the agency was not the beacon of science and security that we expect it to be during a pandemic.
To be honest with the CDC, the dysfunction he is currently in is directly related to the hot mess that the Trump administration, which reportedly I intervened with CDC management and public communications. It is also difficult to provide the best recommendations to the public, such as the absolute need for wearing face masks to reduce the transmission of viruses when the country’s president mocks his democratic opponent for wearing a mask. (If you all remember, Trump positive test for covid-19 shortly after mocking former vice president Joe Biden for wearing a mask).
While well-meaning,, It’s hard to imagine that the letter would inspire forces, also known as the Trump administration, to allow the CDC to do its job and protect Americans. But although it may now fall for deaf ears, there is is elections are coming up. If Biden wins, it is very likely that this letter will matter to his future administration and that the CDC will see its role changed.
We will have to wait and see.