Americans, good natured as they are, often assume that government agencies deserve an implicit trust from the public that they’re sworn to serve, and that they will not violate that trust. When they do, there have to be consequences. That’s certainly the case after our two-and-a-half year COVID-19 nightmare.
It can no longer be denied that our government’s bureaucratic response to the dreaded Wuhan flu was inadequate at best, near-criminal at worst. And now the reckoning has begun.
That can be seen in the Centers for Disease Control’s new “guidance” on COVID, which is essentially an institutional mea culpa for mistakes that cost thousands of people their lives and sowed panic while doing little to halt the spread of the nasty virus.
“The new guidance, released Aug. 11, rescinds and alters a number of key recommendations, including treating unvaccinated and vaccinated people differently for many purposes, explicitly stating that people with previous infection have protection against severe illness, and removing 6-foot social distancing advice,” the Epoch Times reported in a summary the changes.
In short, it unwinds nearly all its previous COVID guidance. But the changes don’t end there. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has admitted that her agency failed the public’s “expectations” in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the Monkeypox outbreak.
“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” Walensky told the CDC staff in an email. “As a longtime admirer of this agency and a champion for public health, I want us all to do better.”
The review was long overdue. Walensky now admits that the CDC had become too wedded to an academic model, in which publishing studies took precedence over actually dealing with public health emergencies.
The CDC also conceded that it had moved key people around every few months, adding to confusion over policies and how they were communicated to the public. Now, officials will stay in one post for at least six months.
All well and good. And, certainly, we applaud any federal agency that seriously reassesses itself and makes reforms as a result.
But we can’t shake the feeling that these mostly superficial changes are being made in advance of the midterm elections, which if current polls hold, will result in a Republican takeover of Congress. After all, isn’t it better to get the bad news out right away so that, when hauled before a potentially hostile congressional committee, you can call it “old news”?
Sorry, but a bureaucratic “my bad” and a reshuffling won’t do. People died unnecessarily. And our entire economy was, for no good reason, shut down (Remember “15 days to slow the spread”?)
Our government did this.
Its inept COVID response is the main cause of our current economic sickness. Wikipedia’s summation of the lockdown’s economic fallout is pretty much spot-on:
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching economic consequences including the COVID-19 recession, the second largest global recession in recent history, decreased business in the services sector during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the 2020 stock market crash, which included the largest single-week stock market decline since the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the impact of the COVID-19 on financial markets, the 2021–2022 global supply chain crisis, the 2021–2022 inflation surge, shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic including the 2020–present global chip shortage, panic buying, and price gouging. It led to governments providing an unprecedented amount of stimulus. The pandemic was also a factor in the 2021–2022 global energy crisis and 2022 food crises.
So, it cost the U.S. and world trillions of dollars in output and pushed millions of people around the globe back into poverty. Worst of all, it killed an estimated 6.4 million people, more than 1 million of those right here in the U.S.
Changing a few rules won’t erase this. There should be consequences for those who lied to us, were simply incompetent, or both.
Already, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins has resigned after lying about the U.S. funding “gain of function” research in China, which possibly led to the creation of the COVID-19 virus.
That’s a good precedent. Shouldn’t top people at the CDC and elsewhere lose their jobs, too?
Yes, we’re looking at you, COVID czar Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who lied repeatedly and helped divide Americans along COVID-19 lines. And at you, Walensky, who often made public pronouncements at odds with her own agency, leading to a serious decline in public trust.
That’s just a a start. We’ll leave it to future investigations to determine others.
Suffice to say that, in the private sector, people who screw up badly are shown the door. But in the public sector, they admit their sins, perform a public act of contrition, and return to work shriven, ready to sin again. And their incompetence becomes entrenched.
This, by the way, is a major reason why the public sector rarely measures up to public expectations — and why so many incompetent bureaucrats get rich after long careers of public disservice.
As we said, we’re glad that the CDC admitted some failings. But that’s not enough. We’re underwhelmed and deeply disappointed by its failure to make badly needed top-to-bottom changes in personnel and practices so that the COVID nightmare is never repeated again.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board