Top medical journal urges voters to pick a president that prioritizes public health over politics

A new editorial published by a prestigious medical journal in defense of the CDC is urging Americans to vote for a president who won’t let partisan politics influence public health decisions. 

The Lancet published an editorial Saturday which criticized the Trump administration’s treatment of the CDC and its advice during the coronavirus pandemic. 

‘The Administration is obsessed with magic bullets—vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear,’ the Lancet said. 

Medical journal The Lancet published a new editorial Saturday urging voters to pick a president that puts public health over partisan politics and noted that Trump’s (center) administration has been ‘obsessed with magic bullets’ during the coronavirus pandemic

The Lancet editorial came to the defense of the CDC, which it said had been 'minimized' and made ineffective during the coronavirus pandemic

The Lancet editorial came to the defense of the CDC, which it said had been ‘minimized’ and made ineffective during the coronavirus pandemic

Unfortunately, the medical journal noted, the only real way to combat coronavirus is ‘a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate.’ 

The key to that being possible is to have ‘an effective national public health agency’ – such as the CDC – which ‘needs a director who can provide leadership without the threat of being silenced and who has the technical capacity to lead today’s complicated effort.’

The medical journal wrote that the CDC, ‘the flagship agency for the nation’s public health, has seen its role minimised and become an ineffective and nominal adviser in the response to contain the spread of the virus.’

The Lancet pointed out that White House coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx – a one-time director of the CDC’s Global HIV/AIDS division – was reported to have said ‘There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,’ regarding the agency’s coronavirus mortality and case data.  

‘This is an unhelpful statement, but also a shocking indictment of an agency that was once regarded as the gold standard for global disease detection and control,’ the Lancet noted.

The Lancet said that White House coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx (left) reportedly saying that she doesn't trust the CDC's data was 'unhelpful'

The Lancet said that White House coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx (left) reportedly saying that she doesn’t trust the CDC’s data was ‘unhelpful’

‘How did an agency that was the first point of contact for many national health authorities facing a public health threat become so ill-prepared to protect the public’s health?’ 

The Lancet noted that ‘funding to the CDC for a long time has been subject to conservative politics that have increasingly eroded the agency’s ability to mount effective, evidence-based public health responses.’

It pointed to the Reagan administration’s resistance towards budgeting the agency to fight the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, as well as George W. Bush’s administration’s restriction on global and domestic HIV prevention and reproductive health programming in the 2000s. 

Recently, the Lancet wrote that ‘The Trump administration further chipped away at the CDC’s capacity to combat infectious diseases.’

It stated that CDC staff in China had been greatly reduced, with the last officer being recalled in July 2019. 

This left ‘an intelligence vacuum when COVID-19 began to emerge,’ the Lancet said. 

The director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Nancy Messonnier, was then left out of White House press briefings after warning Americans to ‘prepare for major disruptions to movement and everyday life’ on February 25. 

The Trump administration further ‘undermined the CDC’s leadership and its work during the COVID-19 pandemic’ by questioning the coronavirus guidelines that the CDC had put together. 

The Lancet admitted that ‘There is no doubt that the CDC has made mistakes, especially on testing in the early stages of the pandemic,’ including the development of faulty test kits. 

Despite this, the Lancet said that ‘punishing the agency by marginalising and hobbling it is not the solution’ as the US is ‘still nowhere near able to provide the basic surveillance or laboratory testing infrastructure needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.’ 

The coronavirus pandemic is still growing, the Lancet pointed out. 

Despite a decreasing rate of infections and deaths in hot spots like New York and New Jersey, following eight months of lockdowns, new outbreaks are occurring in places like Minnesota and Iowa – a state that did not impose any lockdowns.

The growth in cases, the Lancet said, points to ‘the inconsistent and incoherent national response to the COVID-19 crisis.’ 

‘A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic,’ the Lancet wrote. 

This is why the Lancet was urging Americans to pick its next president wisely – to go for someone who doesn’t prioritize partisan politics. 

‘Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics,’ the Lancet said.