The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which each of us led at various points in the last 30 years) has always been one of our most trusted government agencies. It has served as being the gold standard for public health, a domestic and international authority powered by science, and working 24/7 to keep Americans safe – as well as, through its performance during past domestic and global outbreaks. Earned the trust of. Of diseases.
Yet today, public confidence in the CDC has waned; Many Americans saw the agency as a partisan influence. This is particularly damaging at a time when building and maintaining public confidence is integral to saving and reducing the ravages of Kovid-19.
This is not an indictment of the many talented and dedicated public servants who have worked to make this institution the premier public health organization on the planet, or who still fight for the health of the nation – and while saving the greatest public health – to save lives. for. The crisis that we have faced in a century. The attack on the CDC, the marginalization of its role during this crisis and the politicization of its work is a blot on criminals, not our public health workers.
Nevertheless, the loss to the organization is significant; The reputation of today’s CDC is a reflection of what it once was.
The agency should once again play its rightful role and drive public health response and public communication during this epidemic.
After taking a new administration in Washington next week, Drs. Rochelle Wallensky – President-Elect Joe Biden’s extraordinary choice to lead the CDC – will do the same in Atlanta. She will arrive at the CDC with the opportunity (and mandate, indeed) to re-establish trust with rank and file and to restore public confidence in the CDC’s scientific objectivity and capabilities and to deploy full power. The Institute’s expertise in leading the response to this epidemic and beyond.
To succeed in this mission, it must have full support of the US government to assess the processes, structures, and funding issues at the CDC.
His work should begin at the CDC itself, where morale has been devastated as thousands of public servants in Atlanta and around the world have maligned the past year and underestimated at every turn, punching bags for what went wrong in the meantime. Working as Ubiquitous epidemic. CDC staff members need to be heard; They need to trust that this is indeed a new day for the agency.
The agency Valensky is once again headed to its rightful role and should conduct public health response and public communication during this epidemic. There should be repeated CDC briefings about the coming course of the epidemic by high-level and well-informed subject matter experts rather than politicians, so that the American people receive true, accurate, and up-to-date information that is not contaminated by the party. Or politics. During our tenure in both Republican and Democratic administrations, we experienced for the first time that active communication about public health matters served this country well and is critically important during any public health emergency.
The reputation of today’s CDC is a reflection of what it once was.
The CDC should set the investment scale to rebuild trust with the public, to completely modernize the institution, and to completely change the sciences that underlie it, and to ensure that For that agency is the scale of investment with responsibilities.
The erosion of trust will not be repaired overnight, and a transparent process to identify failures to get us to this point, as well as the corrective actions needed to move us forward, may not begin soon. In particular, disturbances occurring during the early days of the pandemic that have delayed the availability of accurate tests for SARS-CoV-2 must be fully addressed before the next crisis arrives.
Re-establishing the firewall between politics and science should begin immediately so that the integrity of the CDC is not reduced again. Fault lines that existed even before the epidemic are clearly revealed: each incoming administration and Congress has brought its own priorities and agenda; As a result, CDC funding has always been inconsistent, unpredictable, and deeply fragmented.
Furthermore, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, public health funds have been stuck in recurrent cycles of emergency expansion, after which the recent crisis has ended. We have seen it end in the last two decades with anthrax attacks, the SARS outbreak, the H5N1 bird flu threat, the H1N1 pandemic, the Ebola epidemic, and the Zedu outbreak.
The Kovid-19 epidemic should begin at the end of this unproductive cycle. We need continued – and very large – public health preparedness funding for the CDC, and we must strengthen our relationships with state, local, regional and tribal public health partners across our country to ensure that we Can save lives not only when our economy is in danger. Recently, the House of Representatives began addressing this problem by exempting some public health funds (at least during this epidemic) from the need for budget cuts in other areas, a rule known as PAYGO. This is a good first step; We hope that the new Congress will identify other means of securing long-term investment in our nation’s public health and biosecurity.
However, the urgency and needs of this epidemic are at the CDC. With Walenski and his team present as his primary challenge and with more experience than any of us during his tenure, we believe the strengths of the CDC – and outstanding scientists and public health professionals within it and the entire public health system – Will fulfill the moment, for the benefit of the whole world. Make us sure that they have the support and freedom to do so.