Wednesday, May 31, 2023

News Analysis: Options force CDC to make decisions based on scarce data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long been respected for its methodical and rigorous scientific approach. Agencies in other countries have modeled themselves after the world’s most respected public health authority, even adopting the title.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC moved at its usual pace. But this time, with the new virus spreading so quickly, the country paid the price for a smart approach: Testing and surveillance lagged behind as the agency tried to implement outdated approaches with creaky infrastructure. It was even too late to recommend masking, in part because it took too long for federal scientists to accept that the virus was airborne.

Now the coronavirus, and the Omicron variant in particular, is pushing the CDC into uncharted territory. Because decisions must be made at a frantic pace, the CDC has issued a series of recommendations based on what was previously considered insufficient evidence.

The agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, sometimes skipped much of the traditional scientific screening process, shortening the isolation period for infected Americans one last time.

After the Trump administration intervened, President Biden took office promising to restore the CDC’s reputation as an independent and rigorous researcher. Dr. Walensky’s challenge now is to figure out how to get this message across to the public: science is incomplete, and that’s our best advice at the moment.

For a bureaucracy made up mostly of medical professionals, changing the pace has not been easy.

In recent interviews, some CDC officials have privately described the decisions as demoralizing and concerned about Dr. Walensky’s growing confidence in the small group of advisers and what they see as the White House’s strong political influence over its actions.

However, others outside the agency praised Dr. Walensky for cutting down on the time-consuming process and taking a pragmatic approach to managing the country’s emergency, saying she was right to move forward even when the data was unclear and agency researchers remained unsure.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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