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Andy Biggs and Ken Buck: The CDC has lost all credibility

Why hasn't the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost all credibility? Any individual or institution that had been so often wrong would have lost public trust long ago. For instance, since people of every political persuasion have determined that media sources lack credibility, polls indicate that journalists are not regarded as particularly trustworthy.

A third of the country is showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression due to the severity of lockdown measures imposed by governors. More than 40 million workers are now unemployed. It is estimated that half of cancer patients and 80% of brain surgery patients have seen delays in crucial appointments. Schools remain closed, impeding education opportunities and hindering the return to work of parents.

Nobel laureate Michael Levitt noted that the lockdowns have caused damage: “Social damage — domestic abuse, divorces, alcoholism — has been extreme. … And then, you have those who were not treated for other conditions.” He added that “the real virus was the panic virus. For reasons that were not clear to me, I think the leaders panicked and the people panicked.”

While the federal government did not mandate policies to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the CDC, together with career bureaucrats Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, influenced the direction of the policies of state and local jurisdictions.

The results: draconian guidelines and hysterical warnings based on horrifically bad models and science. In early March, Fauci and Birx told President Trump that more than 2 million people would die in the United States without taking extraordinary measures.

In this context, the question shouldn’t be, “What have the CDC officials been right about?” It should be, “What haven’t the CDC and other public and health officials been wrong about?”

They’ve been wrong about the models. They’ve been wrong about the lockdowns. They’ve been wrong about the distance the particles travel in the air. They’ve been wrong about the transmission of the virus from asymptomatic individuals. They’ve been wrong about the spread of the virus on surfaces. They’ve been wrong about the infection fatality rate. They’ve been wrong about the dangers of the virus to children and young adults. They’ve been wrong about the use of face masks. They’ve been wrong in their abilities to protect individuals in long-term care facilities. They’ve been wrong in the way they’ve counted COVID-19 deaths. They’ve been wrong in how they’ve classified COVID-19 cases.

This list isn’t even exhaustive.

Thankfully, Trump refused to compound the bad decisions of local jurisdictions to suffocate their societies and economies with a nationwide lockdown. But the career bureaucrats around him, such as Fauci, Birx, and CDC Director Robert Redfield, have been able to whisper in the ears of enough governors and mayors around the country, resulting in indeterminable pain.

The governors and mayors who enacted the policies of the CDC, Fauci, and Birx destroyed constitutional protections and failed to enact rational recommendations to protect the most vulnerable.

We may never reclaim some of the constitutional freedoms we’ve lost, and we will never get back the lives of those who committed suicide under lockdown. Many small-business owners will never get their businesses back. Parents have lost college funds and their own retirement accounts thanks to economic despair. Students have had their progress delayed.

Even now, many public and health officials are talking about extending this national misery into the fall — even into next year. This cannot happen under any circumstances. No one can afford one more day of these lockdown policies or the draconian restrictions on our constitutional freedoms.

We can protect our most vulnerable. We know that we must pay special attention to residents and workers in long-term care facilities. Let’s direct the majority of our time and resources toward protecting them.

We now know that reliance on the CDC is not necessarily a safe bet. It is past time to restore freedom.

Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican, represents Arizona's 5th Congressional District and is chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Ken Buck, a Republican, represents Colorado's 4th Congressional District.

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Posted: June 1, 2020 Monday