The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a guide last week for “inclusive communication,” cautioning against using words like “prisoner,” “smoker,” “illegal immigrant,” “disabled” or “homeless” that the agency says could imply blame or stigma. The guide’s opening line says, “We must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to health inequities.”
The CDC, in other words, is now about fighting “inequity” — not controlling and preventing disease.
The agency urges employees to use “they” instead of gendered pronouns like him or her, even when referring to one person. And to refer to “parents” or “expectant parents,” instead of mothers or fathers. Oh, and avoid the word “stakeholder,” because it may have “violent connotations” for certain tribes.
After making the hundreds of language changes the CDC recommends, who has time to track and defeat COVID-19?
The CDC is suffering from mission confusion. With parts of the United States considering more COVID lockdowns, Americans don’t need lessons on political correctness. They need scientific information on how to reduce the risk of being infected by this virus indoors.
That’s key to reopening workplaces and returning to normal.
Numerous new technologies are said to destroy airborne viruses, including ionization, dry hydrogen peroxide, far UVC light and others. But school administrators and office building managers don’t have a clue which ones actually work. They are flying blind.
The CDC’s thousands of scientists could provide guidance. Not that they should endorse specific brands, but they can assess competing technologies. The CDC flatly refuses to do so. Instead it cautions against using them, because they lack “an established body of peer-reviewed evidence.”
What planet is the CDC on? Peer-reviewed evidence can take years to develop. Here’s the process: An academic journal sends a submitted article to scientists around the world for review and suggested changes. Once that input is received and the article is approved, the wait goes on, because many of these journals only publish four times a year.
Glacial slowness doesn’t work in a pandemic. That’s why former President Donald Trump designed Operation Warp Speed for vaccines. The CDC’s timetable isn’t warp speed. It’s just warped. And it will doom us to failure.
Former Food and Drug and Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told The Washington Post last week that the CDC’s “mindset is, ‘We should polish it, vet it, peer-review it.’ ”
No wonder the CDC is offering 50-year-old information: Open windows, space desks apart and use HEPA filters where possible. HEPA filters were devised during World War II and commercialized in the 1950s.
Tried and true methods aren’t necessarily wrong. But the public deserves the latest science, too.
Eighteen months into the pandemic, giant employers like Apple and Amazon are delaying reopening workplaces. Only 31 percent of US office workers are back, according to Kastle Systems. New York City is far worse off, with only 22 percent back. That kills retail stores, coffee shops and restaurants that serve workers.
If it were possible to get back to normal without technological breakthroughs, it would have happened already. Eric Adams, the city’s likely next mayor, needs scientific information on how to reduce aerosolized COVID-19 virus in transportation hubs, public buildings, offices and schools.
Gottlieb has been urging the FDA to establish a fast-track way of determining what works and what doesn’t. The CDC should be doing the same, using its own scientists.
As for schools, a CDC study of 169 Georgia K-5 schools found COVID cases were reduced more by improving air quality than any other intervention.
A Kaiser Health News headline in June read: “More Than 100 Missouri Schools Have Bought ‘Often-Unproven’ Air-Cleaning Technology.” The words “often unproven” come from CDC guidance. If school districts are rushing in desperation to buy equipment without enough information, blame the CDC, not the school administrators.
Peer-reviewed research on that equipment doesn’t exist yet. That is why CDC scientists should get to work assessing new technologies themselves, instead of writing speech manuals.
If the CDC wants to be politically correct, it can call its new air-quality guidance “indoor environmentalism.”
Originally published at https://nypost.com/2021/08/31/cdc-pushes-pc-language-games-instead-of-fighting-covid/ on .