CDC Stands for “Can’t Decide Completely”
Originally published at https://claytoncraddock.substack.com May 23, 2020:
I’ve never seen so much confusion in my life. This whole pandemic and the reactions to it are a complete and utter disaster — on many levels. The madness started with a haphazard response federally, but has really taken hold on the state level. Now it seems to be circling back to the feds again. Government has failed us.
We should rename the Centers For Disease Control, the Circus For Disease Confusion or Can’t Decide Completely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clarified its guidance to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. It appears they’re hoping to clear up the mess they made and the paranoia they’ve spread over the past three months. There has been widespread confusion over whether a person can contract COVID-19 by touching surfaces that have the coronavirus on them. They admitted this week that it appears the coronavirus is not easily transmissible on surfaces. I guess we can get rid of the blue surgery gloves and stop stocking up on Clorox wipes. We can also immediately cease emptying out cans of Lysol on Amazon.com packages and all grocery bags.
This seems in complete opposition to the dire warnings issued on March 17 when the National Institutes of Health teamed up with Mensa members from the CDC, UCLA and Princeton. They said (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
If you read their previous guidance and reports, you might have concluded that nothing was safe. You couldn’t go anywhere because the coronavirus was all around you. Cities and towns all across America closed playgrounds and parks to protect poor little children who could be super-spreaders if they wound up touching contaminated monkey bars and swings. Online stores sold out of disinfecting shoe trays that promised to kill the virus on the soles of our flip-flops. The CDC said people should continue to clean and disinfect dirty surfaces that could be harboring the virus.
Shouldn’t we clean dirty surfaces anyway? It’s as absurd as the public service announcements telling us to wash our hands. I think our state government thinks we’re all in pre-school now.
While it makes sense to be careful, was anyone thinking this through? The “experts” tell us things that often don’t make much sense. This agency seems to have forgotten the lessons of the many past pandemics. There are patterns and cycles. There are mountains of historical data. Every “novel” virus tends to wind up like most others we’ve seen. Miraculously, humanity manages to survive each and every pandemic.
The CDC is not only flip-flopping on their guidance, they are muddying the picture of the entire pandemic. The CDC is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests. This, in turn, distorts several important metrics. Now that serology tests, which look for antibodies in the blood of people who have recovered, are more widespread, C.D.C. officials said Friday they would work to separate serology tests results from diagnostic tests, which detect active infection.
One of the agency’s data tracker websites has been combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons.
It was first reported by NPR’s WLRN station in Miaimi. Combining the tests inhibits the agency’s ability to discern the country’s actual testing capacity.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told The Atlantic. “How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess.”
A spokeswoman for the C.D.C., Kristen Nordlund, said viral testing was much more common than antibody testing in the pandemic’s early days, and some states combined the virus tests together with the few antibody results they had.
In the Atlantic:
Several states-including Pennsylvania, the site of one of the country’s largest outbreaks, as well as Texas, Georgia, and Vermont-are blending the data in the same way. Virginia likewise mixed viral and antibody test results until last week, but it reversed course and the governor apologized for the practice after it was covered by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Atlantic. Maine similarly separated its data on Wednesday; Vermont authorities claimed they didn’t even know they were doing this.
Many epidemiologists say data from antibody tests and active virus tests should never be mixed. Why? It’s because diagnostic testing seeks to quantify the amount of active disease in the population. Also, patients who have had both diagnostic and serology tests could possibly be counted twice.
A report in the New York Times said epidemiologists, state health officials and a spokeswoman for the C.D.C. said there was no ill intent. They claim they were fatigued and overworked.
To add insult to injury and sow more confusion, the CDC just released guidelines for schools in the fall. The never ending list of rules make it seem as if kids will be entering a maximum security prison instead of school.
The have a laundry list of guidelines schools might want to implement, but they have a disclaimer:
Schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community.
“What is feasible, practical and acceptable.” Great. Tell me, what is feasible, practical and acceptable about any of these:
- Broadcast regular announcements on reducing the spread of COVID-19 on PA systems.
- Include messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff and families (such as on school websites, in emails, and on school social media accounts).
- Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect.
- Keep each child’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.
- Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., assigning each student their own art supplies, equipment) or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
- Avoid sharing electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids.
- Space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.
- Turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.
- Create distance between children on school buses (e.g.,seat children one child per row, skip rows) when possible.
- Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., reception desks).
- Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and children remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g. guides for creating “one way routes” in hallways).
- Close communal use shared spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds with shared playground equipment if possible; otherwise, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use.
- Add physical barriers, such as plastic flexible screens, between bathroom sinks especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart.
- Have children bring their own meals as feasible, or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of in a communal dining hall or cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies.pdf icon.
- Use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes). If disposable items are not feasible or desirable, ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher. Individuals should wash their hands after removing their gloves or after directly handling used food service items.
- If food is offered at any event, have pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee instead of a buffet or family-style meal. Avoid sharing food and utensils and ensure the safety of children with food allergies.pdf icon
What a horrible way to live. I hope NO school system does any of this.
To be fair, many of the other guidelines are reasonable. The problem I have with most of these guidelines is this; why are these things recommended now, and not every year when there is a deadly flu season? More kids die from the flu ever year than from COVID-19.
Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University’s School of Business and is a 25 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit broadway and off-broadway musicals including “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. In addition, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.
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Originally published at https://claytoncraddock.substack.com.