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Covid proved that the CDC is broken. Can you fix it?

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In retrospect, only the strong CDC, a well-funded and operated federal authority that is science-based, resists political pressure, but pays attention to living reality, is the only one in the United States. Clearly, it was able to save policy makers from the worst Covid turmoil. .. And only the more powerful CDCs have the potential to fix these errors when the next pandemic occurs. However, federal agencies are only part of a much larger system, and other components of that system need to work properly and in tandem. For most of last year they weren’t.

For example, federal agencies such as the Ministry of Education have not intervened to help schools tackle infection control challenges. While many communities have made heroic efforts to defeat the virus, state and local officials have always been able to build confidence in the necessary measures and ensure community support. I’m not doing that. Too often, they became a prey to political controversy and used data points as a weapon, not as a tool to improve security. As a result, even if the pandemic declines, fear and frustration are widespread, especially when it comes to school. Some parents are furious with mask obligations and contact tracing regimes, while others return or send their children back, even with all precautions, until the last person is vaccinated. Say not. The fault lines of this division are well known, but for some reason knowing where they are did not help the country avoid them.

The CDC’s institutional prudence and muddy message didn’t help. “The CDC is like an elephant looking back in a camping tent,” says Allen. “When it turns, I’m unaware that all these other things have to turn it around.” But the problem is much bigger than messaging and guidelines. Public health equipment in the United States is vast and cumbersome. The components are supposed to work closely together, but instead are separated from each other, with little awareness of this issue and its impact on broader response efforts. Neither the CDC nor the entity it serves seems to understand what federal disease control should do, or what the limits of the current system really are. “The CDC has updated the guidelines, and half of the United States thinks it means the rules have changed,” says Allen. “But the CDC hasn’t created a rule, states and cities do.”

Only the more powerful CDC can fix these errors when the next pandemic occurs.

Without that basic understanding, subtle discussions were difficult and rare. “We’ve been discussing things like 6 feet vs 3 feet, mask vs no mask, etc. for a year,” Covid Collaborative’s Friedhoff told me. “But the answers to these questions are entirely context-sensitive. The way schools take infection control depends on the appearance of the building, the number of students, etc.” , And the understanding that it needs to permeate the average person, she says. But so far, it’s lost in all the noise.

The perfect case study decided to open the school door to full-time face-to-face instruction in January in Manatee County, western Florida. Kevin Chapman, director of strategic planning for the district, relied heavily on the CDC’s guidance. “It was the only thing we had to go through and the only authority or expertise we could rely on,” he says. The guidelines weren’t very perfect. They appeared to have been written by a medical professional who had never set foot in school. And when it came to translating them, the district didn’t have meaningful support. Governor Ron DeSantisAppeared that his remarks routinely undermined the CDC and, in turn, made the efforts of Chapman and his colleagues questionable. But the team did everything they could. They set up an operations center, learned about the delicate science of contact tracing, and worked with the local health department to get as close as possible to what federal agencies have set.

They managed to keep the virus away. From January, when the school reopened, to late May, when the school year finally ended, there were no outbreaks or closures of the school. But even so, the district plans to abandon almost all of its current protocols when the next school year begins: masks, contact tracing, and other things that helped control the virus. There is no instruction. Chapman is worried that this may be too much, but his team is almost unreliable. DeSantis lifted the state’s mask obligations, and for weeks, a delegation of voice parents flocked to a school board meeting to demand that the school district follow. Don’t worry about the CDC immediately revealing that the relaxed guidelines do not apply to schools. “They yell at us and threaten us,” says Chapman. “They say it doesn’t matter what the CDC is saying. If Desantis breaks Maskman Date, the school should do the same.”

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