Monday, February 12, 2018

There Are Consequences to Putting Grifters in Power

I have had the flu on my mind lately- one of my fellow coaches at my volunteer gig has recently gotten over a case of influenza that had her bedridden for three days, and she is indomitable. Additionally, my upstairs neighbor told me yesterday that her two kids are just getting over the flu. There's a full-blown flu epidemic occurring, an epidemic which is believed to be responsible for approximately four thousand deaths per week. I'm not a public health professional, but if I were, I'd be in crisis mode... because there's a crisis going on now, one compounded by the low rate of flu shot effectiveness this season.

In light of the ongoing epidemic, the fact that the current administration had appointed a grifter who purchased tobacco stocks before assuming her position as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be considered a major scandal. Tragically, the constant cavalcade of scandals and the resultant fatigue has muted coverage of what I perceive should be the current number one domestic policy disaster. The last thing we need is a CDC head who has “certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director”, but having no CDC head is almost as bad. Yet again, the Republican war on good government, as exemplified by Ronald Reagan's particular brand of idiocy, which has metastasized in the GOP:

The premise that government is a problem is a self-fulfilling prophecy- government will become the problem. With an influenza epidemic of more-than-common virulence happening, this is a problem.


mikey said...

While I certainly don't disagree with your premise, there are realistically very few things that an agency like CDC can do at this point in a public health emergency. The burdens fall on local hospitals and state public health officials, and the best the federal government can do is make sure resources are available to the locals who are fighting the outbreak.

But you're absolutely right. The CDC's main role is to work to prevent this kind of outbreak in the future, and if they aren't doing that then next year and the year after are going to be bad news...

mcfrank said...

Mikey -- you are underestimating the power of epidemiology. Tracking the patterns of the outbreaks (there's more than one flu this year) and the effectiveness of the various treatments are a big part of the coordination and mobilization of care. The fact that most people don't know that thousands are dying each week is mostly due to the lack of stories on the evening news "According to the CDC...".