Let's Make the CDC Great Again…..
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which once sent scientists through the US and around the world to combat diseases and new viruses, is now a shadow of its former self due to conservative politics that eroded the agency's ability to mount "effective evidence-based public health responses," according to an editorial in The Lancet, the world's premier medical journal.
It believes the the flagship US public health service has seen its role minimized and become an ineffective and nominal adviser in the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trump administration has questioned CDC guidelines, which has undermined its leadership and work during the pandemic.
The Lancet admits that the CDC made mistakes in testing during the early stage of the pandemic, but marginalizing it and hobbling it is not the solution.
"The Administration is obsessed with magic bullets—vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear. But only a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate, will see the emergency brought to an end, and this requires an effective national public health agency," according to the British journal.
The Trump administration's further erosion of the CDC will harm global cooperation in science and public health, as it is trying to do by defunding the World Health Organization.
The Lancet urges Americans to put a president in the White House come January 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.
COVID-19 has spurred a lively competition for the title of Mayor of Crazy Town.
Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, certainly is in the running, after he compared himself to Jesus Christ.
In trying to explain the investment strategy for Softbank's $100B Vision Fund, which rang up a $13B loss in 2019, Son told analysts that Jesus also was misunderstood and criticized for his actions, according to the Financial Times.
Son used the analogy to suggest that his reputation would be redeemed once the Vision Fund's performance turned around. E.g., Jesus "redeemed" his reputation after he rose from the dead following his crucifixion.
The Softbank chief may have a long wait before his reputational redemption.
Son likened the financial fallout from COVID-19 to the Great Depression and noted that it took the Dow Jones 25 years to recover from that disaster. He expects a similar impact from the pandemic.
Let's hope Son lacks divine soothsaying skills.
Reporters throw a "Hail Mary" pass in their effort to save local newspapers.
The NewsGuild-CWA has kicked off a "Save the News" advocacy campaign on Capitol Hill to stave off the collapse of more newsrooms during the COVID-19 crisis.
About 1,800 newspapers, mostly small papers outside major cities, have vanished since 2004 and the NewsGuild believes the pandemic might be the final nail in the coffin of an industry that has survived onslaughts by Google, Facebook and private equity ownership.
COVID-19 has devastated advertising revenues, leading to layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts for tens of thousands of journalists.
Ironically, readers are turning to local papers for up-to-date information about the impact the pandemic has had on their communities.
The Save the News effort focuses on federal aid to the news business via direct grants to media workers, participation of local papers in the Paycheck Protection Program and federal advertising spending in local outlets.
"Congress needs to act to save the news, before it's too late," said Jon Schluess, NewsGuild president. The clock is ticking.