The Director of the CDC Might Have Lied To Us


Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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38 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Also relevant:
    “iiuc gayle langley, the person at CDC who was emailing ppl around country telling them it was illegal to use tests made in a facility that hadn’t been approved by medicare/medicaid, has been publishing with CDC since 2011 but has been employed by DHHS in some way since 2006”

    If someone tells you that it’s all Trump’s fault because he appointed the people who are screwing up…that someone is not in possession of all the facts.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    What we are witnessing is a brutal refutation of the old adage about authoritarian governments making the trains run on time.

    This government is utterly incapable of addressing this crisis because the most urgent priority for everyone in it is first, to avoid the wrath of the Dear Leader, and secondly, to tell the Dear Leader whatever flattery will gain them a reward.

    The President of the United States knows less about the virus than the man on the street, and yet refuses to allow experienced medical and public health professionals do their job.

    The body count of the Trump administration will probably never be known but will likely be in the thousands, and even then only if we are lucky.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      We are also revealing that strict doctrinaire adherence to ideology is not a good idea because something is going to come along and make a hash out of it. For the Republicans and other people that always see the government as a problem, a pandemic or other natural disaster is going to be that phenomenon. You can’t fight a pandemic with market forces and tax cuts. You need a well-organized response that doesn’t take account people’s ability to pay.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      There have certainly been more competent, fact-demanding, critical-thinking, holding-concentration-for-minutes-at-a-time authoritarians, so the current authoritarian in charge is an especially bad example.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Robert Redford has always been a bad actor.

    That out of the way, “Ultimately, either the director of the CDC is a liar or the media is. Either way, we are not being served well by the institutions we rely upon.” needs to be remarked upon. For the last thee plus years, the media has routeinly s*** all over its credibility. Could this be truthy? Don’t know. And wont know until if and when it is verified by other sources. So, thanks a lot 1619 project.

    Alsotoo, the CDC has spent a lot of cutlural capital trying to mission creep everything that it can for decades now. And, low and behold, the one time they could really step up to the plate, this is the garbage that comes down the pipe. Unreal.Report

  4. One is that a healthy number of people don’t have a relationship with a single healthcare provider.

    That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    America Is Broken

    This is not how a functioning society responds to a crisis. And while it is important to keep in mind that even the worst-case scenarios for COVID-19 stop far short of producing total social and political disarray — producing merely widespread death and suffering and an almost incalculable burden on our already stretched-thin medical capacity — it is nevertheless astonishing, and horrifying, just how quickly we have arrived here, almost totally distrustful of the civic institutions we expect to protect us.

    And how did we arrive here? Part of it is, of course, Trump, who has so accelerated the decades-long Republican war on government, which is to say good governance, that it can now seem the only two people actually working in the federal government are Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller (who, by the way, jointly wrote the speech the president gave last night). Part of it is the long story of neoliberalism, which has taught us all that we make our political mark on the world through consumer choice and individual behavior, that we shouldn’t expect much but economic management from government, and that citizens are meant to be unleashed into unemcumbered markets. Part of it is even deeper cultural transformation, involving growing distrust of institutions and authorities and the growth of a kind of casually paranoid style of go-it-alone American life, as was so memorably documented in Chris Hayes’s The Twilight of the Elites. And part of it is, I think, in the term Ross Douthat has deployed in the title of his new book, “decadence” — the ancient imperial cycle of rising power and competence followed by avarice and narcissism and shortsightedness, but accelerated, in the case of the U.S., for a hypermodern age.Report

  6. Avatar Chad says:

    Because it’d be irresponsible not to follow-up on whether or not the media actually made up a quote out of whole cloth. Especially since folks seem to have had their *last* straw due to the 1619 project lol

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chad says:

      Based on that clip, they didn’t make up the quote but they sure took it out of context. Both followed up by saying the emphasis was on trying to have people talk to a doctor who can provide advice and guide them through it, from what they should do to how to best handle the next steps, etc.

      I suppose part of that preference may be based on noting that if all the health care professionals are manning the hospitals in this all-hands-on-deck crisis, who all those people manning the drive-thrus? Are they college kids, teen volunteers, TSA agents, National Guardsmen? Who trained them? What are the procedures they follow if a driver tests positive? Is there follow up and contact tracing?

      That may be where the crisis ends up, but it might not be an optimal first step, as it kind of pretends that we don’t have any existing health-care system at all.Report

      • Avatar Chad in reply to George Turner says:

        I’d feel more confident in declaring that looking to model the response on what’s worked in other places may be sub optimal here if we aren’t watching the results of this approach in real time. That’s what’s outrageous about the quote, we know many people don’t have a primary doctor or healthcare provider. We know a significant number of people don’t have health insurance. To say, this method, which we’ve seen prove effective elsewhere isn’t being implemented here because we want people to use our system is myopic.

        Edit to add: declining to include additional reasoning which reinforces the point made in the quote isn’t taking anything out of context and this goal moving is how we keep making what’s a clear failure of leadership a hazy harangue against the media.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chad says:

          Well, at present we’d also have no way to pay for the drive-thrus because Nancy held up the emergency corona virus spending bill all last week, not letting it even get to the floor, and this week she added a bunch of federal abortion funding provisions to make sure Republicans would vote against it. She’s then going to send everyone home for recess, so we’re all doomed because she’s willing to let potentially millions of Americans die (but mostly in big urban centers) as long as she can get some campaign fodder against Republicans.

          This is the price we all pay for having one party eaten up with derangement syndrome.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

            Senior Democrats had initially been hopeful — some, even confident — that their bill would win support from Republicans. By Thursday morning, however, GOP leaders said they would oppose the plan over the paid leave plan and changes to Medicaid, which would help hospitals cover swelling costs of uninsured patients.

            President Donald Trump said Thursday that he did not support the measure, even as his Treasury chief took part in multiple conversations with Pelosi to discuss changes to the bill.

            “No, there are things in there that had nothing to do of what we are talking about. It is not a way for them to get some of the goodies they have been able to get for the last 25 years,” Trump said, without offering specifics.

            The Democrats’ package would shore up safety net programs like food assistance, unemployment insurance and temporary sick leave with growing numbers of people forced to stay home from work and schools. It would also make free coronavirus testing widely available in a bid to address one of the nation’s major struggles in containing the outbreak.


            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              It would also apparently fund abortion clinics and other nonsense.

              Nancy is using the dictum of “Never let a crisis go to waste.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                I would love to see a cite for the claim that the Democratic plan included federally funded abortions.

                If its true, Nancy is even more admirable than previously thought.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Why? Because she’ll let innocent people die unless she gets to fund innocent people dying?

                Nancy is throwing up roadblocks to solving the crisis so she can blame the crisis on Trump. The Democratic leadership apparently wants hundreds of thousands of Americans to die so they can stand on the graves and hurl insults – and get more campaign donations.

                There have been plenty of people warning that Nancy has absolutely horrible political instincts. This would be another example.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                Got that cite yet?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Which ones? Even MSNBC’s Joy Reid slammed the abortion funding nonsense, asking what it has to do with a Covid-19 bill. Or you could check tweets from Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, congressional Republicans, etc.

                Even Salon had to tap dance around the fact that if it wasn’t funding abortions, the Republicans wouldn’t be objecting to abortion funding in the bill, and Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be out there slamming Republicans for “advancing their anti-abortion agenda”. The National Women’s Law Center wouldn’t be saying “”Yet again, Republicans prove they’ll do anything to attack abortion – including co-opting a public health crisis to further their agenda.”

                Now, the Republicans couldn’t be doing that if the bill had nothing to do with federal funding for abortions. The GOP obviously didn’t put those provisions in there, so just who did? Oh, that would be Nancy, who routinely tries clever tricks to get rid of the Hyde amendment and make Medicaid cover abortions. She apparently can’t not do that.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to George Turner says:

                Some lincs George? They might be nice…Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Ultimately, either the director of the CDC is a liar or the media is. Either way, we are not being served well by the institutions we rely upon.

    I am reminded of this announcement from the FDA from Feb 29th:

    “We believe this policy strikes the right balance during this public health emergency,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “We will continue to help to ensure sound science prior to clinical testing and follow-up with the critical independent review from the FDA, while quickly expanding testing capabilities in the U.S. We are not changing our standards for issuing Emergency Use Authorizations. This action today reflects our public health commitment to addressing critical public health needs and rapidly responding and adapting to this dynamic and evolving situation.”

    Wait… what did they do? Jump down a couple of paragraphs to read:

    The new policy is for certain laboratories that develop and begin to use validated COVID-19 diagnostics before the FDA has completed review of their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests. The FDA can issue an EUA to permit the use, based on scientific data, of certain medical products that may be effective in diagnosing, treating or preventing a disease or condition when there is a determination, by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), that there is a public health emergency or a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of U.S. citizens, and a declaration that circumstances exist justifying the medical products’ emergency use.

    Why in the hell does the FDA have *THAT* much power? To tell a lab that they can’t develop a test? And we’re relieved that they’re relaxing that rule?

    The FDA does more harm than good.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Jaybird says:

      It is very worrisome. And decentralized experimentation in this area is what America does best! I’m sure there would be some scandals of some people getting tests that didn’t work properly, but we’d probably be up to speed much faster overall than clamping down on the ability for anyone to develop other than the CDC.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      I read somewhere (was it here???) that Seattle only managed to get in front of the epidemic’s spread by willfully violating the Fed Gov guidelines and protocols. I’ve been hammering on this for a while, but Trump, the WH and the Fed. Gov’s official policy in the early stages of this epidemic, and unfortunately they are *still* the WH/Fed Gov policy, is to make accumulating evidence about the scope and severity of the disease as difficult as possible, and that includes testing.

      I used to sardonically joke (echoing Hume) that Trump would rather see half the world burn than suffer a prick to his finger. We’re seeing the bleak truth of that statement playing out in real time before our eyes.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’s not Trump that’s causing the problems, it’s the long-term professionals at the FDA and CDC. All those arcane bureaucratic procedures didn’t come out of nowhere, and he’s had to plow through many such roadblocks that bureaucrats have codified and defended. Democrats think the solution is more bureaucracy.

        The CDC director, like many bureaucrats, went on an aside during his testimony to list what the CDC needs in the long term, so they can more accurately track future outbreaks, etc. Like many who climb to the top of the management ladder, he’s concerned about CDC’s health as a bureaucracy instead of focusing on the agency’s core mission. In fact, it’s been perhaps a decade or so since I’ve seen the CDC focused on their mission more than they’re focused on their importance as a well-run government agency that always needs more funding and a bigger staff.

        This is a constant problem in all bureaucracies, where the leadership ends up focused on managing a well-oiled, influential organ of government instead of solving the problems for which their agency was created. George HW Bush fell into the same trap when he ran the CIA. He focused on making sure the CIA was a well run agency instead of using it as a powerful tool to advance the nation’s interests by doing such things as, oh, collapsing the Soviet Union.

        One of the reason’s Trump was elected was that he thinks the swamp is the problem, not the solution. He is proven right time after time.Report

  8. Avatar Aaron David says:


    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

      Don’t forget the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, so that the entire vegetable aisle can be infected by all the corona virus hanging out for days on the eco-friendly re-usable, hand-crafted, artisanal cloth shopping bags. ^_^

      We’re lucky that progressive coastal thought hadn’t yet reached the stage where they mandated re-usable public drinking glasses, or had they already started that?Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Aaron David says:

      South Korea and Singapore seems to be doing fine.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jesse says:

        Singapore closes borders to all foreign travellers from China to stem spread of coronavirus/ Jan 31.

        Singapore has 200 case at this time, so that helped but did not stop the disease. South Korea has approx. 8,ooo cases at this time, fouth worst in the world.

        I literally have no idea what you are talking about.Report

  9. Avatar Aaron David says:

    And Perfect Hair Forever speaks the truth


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