CDC to cut by 80 percent efforts to prevent global disease outbreak https://t.co/N0ApaDIcTl
— Nada Bakos (@nadabakos) February 2, 2018
Happy 100th anniversary of a flu pandemic that infected 500 million people and killed at least 50 million, everybody! https://t.co/fMfUg0DsV6
— febru-erin (@morninggloria) February 2, 2018
After all, despite all those hand-wringing news stories, nobody American actually died in that potential Ebola pandemic, so why should we waste any more money that Paul Ryan assures us could better go to tax cuts for billionaires? Let Trump’s big, beautiful wall protect us from foreign viruses! Ed Yong, in the Atlantic:
… In December 2014, Congress appropriated $5.4 billion to fight the historic Ebola epidemic that was raging in West Africa. Most of that money went to quashing the epidemic directly, but around $1 billion was allocated to help developing countries improve their ability to detect and respond to infectious diseases. The logic is sound: It is far more efficient to invest money in helping countries contain diseases at the source, than to risk small outbreaks flaring up into large international disasters.
But the $1 billion pot, which was mostly divided between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID, runs out in 2019—a fiscal cliff with disaster at its foot. As I wrote:
That money has been used well, to train epidemiologists, buy equipment, upgrade labs, and stockpile drugs. If it disappears, progress will halt, and potentially reverse. The CDC, for example, would have to pull back 80 percent of its staff in 35 countries, breaking ties with local ministries of health.
This is now coming to pass. Two weeks ago, Betsy McKay at The Wall Street Journal reported that the CDC, with no firm promise of future funding, is indeed preparing to downsize its work in 39 countries. Those include the Democratic Republic of Congo, which recently experienced its eighth Ebola outbreak, and China, which is recently underwent its worst outbreak of H7N9 bird flu. Lena Sun of The Washington Post confirmed this report on Thursday, writing that “notice is being given now to CDC country directors” as the first part of a transition.
The CDC is not the only affected agency. USAID also received $300 million from the same dwindling pot of money, which it used to expand its work in the Middle East and Asia. Those programs may also have to shut down in 2019.
These changes would make the world—and the United States—more vulnerable to a pandemic. “We’ll leave the field open to microbes,” says Tom Frieden, a former CDC director who now heads an initiative called Resolve to Save Lives. “The surveillance systems will die, so we won’t know if something happens. The lab networks won’t be built, so if something happens, we won’t know what it is. We can’t be safe if the world isn’t safe. You can’t pull up the drawbridge and expect viruses not to travel.”…
But we know, from their statements during the 2014, that certain high-ranking Republicans are damned well determined to try.
— Rachel Gray (@rachels_aria) February 3, 2018