Efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to control the COVID-19 pandemic have been widely criticized, with veteran public health experts describing its “failings” as “notable.” Unfortunately, the Biden administration has prevented some meaningful reform of the CDC’s guidance practices, overturning a Trump administration regulation that would have required the CDC to comply with certain good guidance practices. Real progress, then, will require congressional action.
Throughout the pandemic, the CDC knowingly released flawed diagnostic tests, neglected its own best practices in risk communications, and issued recommendations for temperature screening methods that “do not work.” It provided guidance for schools so flawed it drew a public rebuke from the very scientists it cited. The CDC’s recommendations for preemptive coordinated school closures likely contributed to the large and discouraging decline in students’ academic performance since 2020, including a growing gap in test scores between low and high poverty elementary schools, as well as adverse effects on kids’ mental health and parents’ jobs and wages.
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