More than 1,000 current and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by epidemic intelligence officials have signed an open letter condemning the agency’s “sinister politicization” throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: The CDC is usually at the forefront of the U.S. response to public health crises, but the agency was largely removed during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the White House trying to control communications, which sometimes contradicts scientific evidence.
What are they saying: “We hereby express our concern about the ominous politicization and silencing of the National Health Agency during the ongoing COVID-1
- “In previous public health crises, the CDC provided the best available information and direct recommendations directly to the public. It was widely respected for the effective synthesis and application of scientific evidence by epidemiologists and biomedical researchers at the CDC and around the world.”
- “Its historical credibility is based on incomparable experience and 70+ years of institutional memory. This focus and organization is hardly recognizable today,” the letter, signed so far by 1,044 people, said.
- “The lack of national guidance on COVID-19 is unprecedented and dangerous.”
- “Inconsistent contact tracking efforts are limited within each country – while coronavirus infections, unfortunately, are not. Such chaos is what the CDC usually avoids through its long history of working with state and local health authorities to develop national disease surveillance and coordinated control systems. “
- “The CDC must be at the forefront of the successful response to this global public health emergency. We urgently call on the American people to ask our nation’s leaders to allow the CDC to regain its indispensable role.”
The other side: An official in the Trump administration told the WSJ that “the CDC is critical of the coronavirus task force, which is made up of public health leaders with a wealth of valuable expertise.”
Go deeper: Read the full letter from epidemic intelligence officials