I recently finished reading “The Premonition, A Pandemic Story,” a book by Michael Lewis. The cast of characters include scientists and public health officials, working behind the scenes to control, or at least slow the pandemic. Michael is the author of “The Big Short” and “Moneyball”, both made into movies. Toward the end of the book, he talks about the CDC, which was formed in 1946, and how in the 1980s the CDC director became a presidential appointment. Prior to that time, the director rose through the ranks and was promoted from within. When the role of CDC Director became an appointed position, decided by the White House, the door was opened for the institution to become politicized, which, in my opinion, was a disservice to the American public. Ideally, the CDC should be a fully independent organization. I am not sure the CDC should be able to create policy, but its recommendations should be free from politics. It will probably take an act of congress to restore the position to one that is earned, from within the organization, so I am not going to hold my breath, but I think this would be a huge step in restoring our confidence and trust.
The CDC’s policy of recommending a person with “natural immunity” to get vaccinated anyway didn’t sit right with me, especially when several countries in Europe were recognizing a positive covid test as being comparable to evidence of vaccination. This was when vaccine passports were being required to board airplanes, trains, enter theaters and so on. The CDC director was asked by a reporter why someone who has recovered from a covid infection should get vaccinated? Her answer, was immunity from an infection varies from person to person depending on the severity of the infection, while the immunity from a vaccine is more consistent. Which may be true, but this fact does not seem to warrant forcing those with natural immunity to get vaccinated, which for a while this was the case for federal workers. I think this was a huge mistake by the CDC, to not recognize natural immunity as being comparable to being vaccinated, which also played into the conspiracy theories that the pandemic was all about big pharma and government control. How many times did I hear, we follow the science? Science tells us that a person who recovers from a viral infection now has immunity, and this scientific fact was not recognized by the CDC as being good enough. I believe the White House was following the CDC’s guidelines when the vaccine mandate was issued for federal workers.
It was 102 years between the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and the Covid-19 pandemic which started in 2020. If left up to mother nature, it might very well be another 100 years before the next pandemic. But things are different now. Gain of Function research has been in the news quite a bit, and we know that biologists have the ability to alter a virus that would normally only infect birds, or swine, or bats, but not humans, and now through lab manipulation CAN infect humans. Last year I watched an interview of the first Dept. of Homeland Security secretary, Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, who said there are 4 countries, China, Russia, Iran, and N. Korea, plus the United States, that are engaged in Bio-Defense research, which means Bio-Offense also, according to Mr. Ridge. We don’t know the origin of the covid virus, and some believe it came from a lab. Which means to me, whether or not the covid-19 virus came from a lab, the possibility exists that a virus could come from bio-defense research. We probably won’t have to wait another 100 years for the next pandemic. I hope I’m wrong.
This makes it all the more important that the CDC has our trust, that it is not influenced by politics. It should be a wholly independent institution, run by people who have dedicated their career to public safety and public health. I’m not sure what I can do to have the CDC revert to a policy of having the director rise up through the ranks and be promoted from within, instead of being appointed by the White House. I did email our Representative, Doug LaMalfa, and asked him to share my concern with his colleagues in the House. Maybe if more people do the same, he will make that effort. Here is a link to his web site.
I’d like to see Congress, the House and the Senate, create rules, guidelines, legislation that benefits the American public, and not just special interests. What can be done to ensure the CDC, FDA and other government agencies function in ways that benefit all of us? I think we have to rely on our elected officials to step up to the plate and take a swing or two.
Here’s the link to the full interview with former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, which was posted on YouTube about a year ago.