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CDC Has Only Itself To Blame For Public Mistrust

OPINION By Jacob Sullum, May 19, 2021 

THE NEW YORK POST – “My promise is that CDC will continue to follow the science as our guide,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told senators last week.

While Walensky thinks the CDC already is doing that, the agency’s history of arbitrary, dubious and ever-changing advice about COVID-19 belies her boast.

Early in the pandemic, the CDC, together with the Food and Drug Administration, disastrously bungled the rollout of virus tests, making it impossible to curtail the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing.

Its obstruction of independently produced tests was coupled with irrationally narrow guidelines that initially recommended screening only for symptomatic travelers from China and people who had been in close contact with them.

The CDC, which at first dismissed the idea that Americans should wear face masks in public places to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, later decided such coverings were “the most important, powerful public-health tool we have.”

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It even insisted that people who had been vaccinated should continue wearing face masks in many indoor and outdoor settings, both public and private.

That advice went by the boards last week, when the CDC decided that fully vaccinated Americans generally don’t need to wear masks, except when required to do so by businesses or the government.

While Walensky suggested that shift was prompted by new data, the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing asymptomatic infection as well as serious disease and death had been clear for months.

At the end of March, an emotional Walensky warned that the nation faced “impending doom” if states prematurely lifted COVID-19 restrictions.

Although governors who favored reopening sooner rather than later paid her no heed, the disaster she predicted didn’t materialize, and last week, she welcomed a “return to normal life” made possible by vaccines.

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In April, the CDC published impractical, absurdly restrictive recommendations for summer camps, including a requirement that kids wear face masks during outdoor activities …

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