Political Editors / January 10, 2022

In Brief: Abolish the CDC

And replace it with an agency that cares about science.

Health directives from the federal government have been as malleable as the variants of COVID-19. Some of that is to be expected as we better understand the virus and its transmission and treatment. But plenty of it smacks of political theater, and political analyst Oliver Wiseman says it’s time to move on.

“You do you.” That would be my three-word summary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance for people who catch Covid. The latest advice is a response to a backlash that followed its recent decision to cut its recommended isolation time from ten to five days and advise that if you’re asymptomatic you don’t need a negative test to leave quarantine.

The CDC flip-flop is yet another reminder that the agency is hardly involved in a dispassionate issuance of “the science.” The new guidance is little more than a sop to the Covid-cautious. It’s also a perfect example of the organization’s inability to provide Americans with the clear, straightforward guidance that they need.

According to the new advice, anyone who tests positive should isolate for five days. After five days, anyone who wants to take a test should do so, and if they still test positive should isolate for another five days. If you don’t choose to test again, you should be careful, not travel, maybe not go to restaurants and so on. “You should probably not visit grandma,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Monday.

Like I said, you do you.

This move — the policy equivalent of a shrug — is another sign that, at least politically, we’re reaching the endgame of the pandemic.

Even some in the Biden administration, including the president, are beginning to admit that there’s not much the federal government can do. It could start with trustworthy guidance.

In the grand scheme of things, the CDC’s fuzzy guidance is only a minor failing in a long lists of pandemic slip-ups, not least because of how little credibility the agency has left. The CDC’s more serious crimes include its early testing blunder, when it eschewed the private sector, insisted on the in-house production of tests and then failed to produce a viable product. The CDC has also been consistently terrible at collecting data relating to the pandemic.

The agency famously botched early guidance on mask-wearing. Perhaps more shockingly, it’s still steering people away from the most protective masks and towards far less effective cloth alternatives. At present, their website reads: “DO NOT choose masks that are specially labelled ‘surgical’ N95 respirators, as those should be prioritized for healthcare personnel.”

That’s only scratching the surface, Wiseman says, and it doesn’t end with only the CDC. Thus, he concludes, abolition ought to be on the table.

I understand Covid fatigue, and a reluctance to engage in pandemic politics any further, but now would seem like a good time to reconsider the American state’s disease-fighting toolkit. And that process should arguably start with a blank sheet of paper. In other words, it might be time to rip it up and start again.

Here’s an idea that might actually have support from both sides of the aisle: abolish the CDC. Replace it with an organization designed to act swiftly, give clear advice and report to policymakers the latest science and data. That body should do so with an impartiality and epistemological humility that most public health officials have lacked in the last few years.

Read the whole thing here.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.