Monday, May 18, 2020

Edittorial: The Lancet--On Politicizing US Public Health

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The British medical journal, The Lancet, published an editorial (unsigned) which was scalpel sharp in its criticism of the Trump's administration politicizing of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The editorial calls attention to its long history in discovering new viruses and the development of accurate tests for them and notes its role in helping the World Health Organizaton (WHO) eradicate smallpox. However, it notes that "funding to the CDC for a long time has been subject to conservative politics that have increasingly eroded the agency's ability to mount effective evidence-based public health responses." The current administration has continued this by first cutting back CDC staff in China and then recalling the "last remaining CDC officer in China (July 19)."

The editorial also notes that CDC has made mistakes, "especially in the early stages of the pandemic. The agency was so convinced that it had contained the virus that it retained control of all diagnostic testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, but this was followed by the admission " that it had developed faulty test kits.

Perhaps the largest problem is an administration "obsessed with magic bullets--new vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear." However, the emergency will be brought to an end based "on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate." Furthermore, CDC leadership must be assured that s/he can lead "without the thrat of being silenced and who has the technical capacity to lead today's complicated effort."

It ends with this endorsement, unusual I think, foran overseas journal : "Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand public health should not be guided by partisan politics.

Strong stuff and may be read here (it is short).

No comments:

Post a Comment