The “Prominent Hole” in CDC Epidemic Intelligence

Federal government briefings on the current pandemic have failed to feature anyone openly identified with the Epidemic Intelligence Service, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Embattled Americans might find that odd, since the EIS is tasked to protect the country from health threats. 

“EIS officers serve on the front lines of public health, protecting Americans and the global community,” the CDC proclaims. “When disease outbreaks or other public health threats emerge, EIS officers investigate, identify the cause, rapidly implement control measures, and collect evidence to recommend preventive actions.” According to Diana Robelotto Scalera of the CDC Foundation, “Who is responsible for protecting America from the spread of disease and other global health threats? Who works day and night domestically and globally to ensure epidemics in other countries do not hit American soil? The Epidemic Intelligence Service, also known as disease detectives, are the ones responsible.”

EIS officers have been “deployed” to many countries, but no EIS or CDC official has publicly acknowledged EIS failure to prevent the coronavirus from hitting on American soil. Whatever sleuthing the EIS performed stateside did not prevent the nationwide spread and 123,995 deaths as of July 16. 

As Angelo Codevilla notes, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Centers for Disease Control “had partially financed the notorious Wuhan laboratory where Chinese scientists were researching the virus.” The Epidemic Intelligence Service has yet to shed light on the virus’ mysterious origin. As it turns out, the World Health Organization (WHO) also has an Epidemic Intelligence Service working in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” How that will fare with the United States decoupled from the WHO remains uncertain. 

In 2017, former EIS officer Dr. Ali S. Khan told Infectious Disease News that EIS officers, backed by the CDC, are “essential for the nation’s health and safety.” EIS funding had been neglected and Dr. Khan wanted full funding “to improve our nation’s health defense.” The “next pandemic” would be the test, and by all indications, despite those “boots on the ground,” the EIS failed to protect the nation’s health and safety. 

As the CDC explains, “worn out shoe leather with a prominent hole worn through has been a recurring visual theme of EIS through the decades.” The real gap involves public disclosure of EIS and CDC failures.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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