The COVID pandemic has been a teachable moment for government officials. It’s a shame they didn’t learn much.
Although many health experts consider COVID to be nearing its endemic stage, which means cases are consistently low and the virus is manageable, infectious disease specialists and public health advocates are sounding a new alarm – this time on monkeypox.
They warn that the Biden administration has been too slow to respond to the outbreak and that the United States risks losing control of the disease, according to The Hill.
“Where we have fallen behind is streamlining testing, making vaccines available, streamlining access to the best treatments. All three areas have been bureaucratic and slow, which means we haven’t contained this outbreak,” said David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.
Fortunately, monkeypox is not a new virus like COVID, and ways to reduce its spread are known.
“As a global community, we have known this for decades. We know how it spreads. We have tests that help identify infected people. We have very effective vaccines against it,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha said during a recent briefing.
Why then, does the Center for Disease Control live in deja vu when it comes to precautionary advice?
Earlier this month, the CDC issued this quick tip for travelers on: avoiding monkeypox: “Wear a mask. Wearing a mask can help protect you against many diseases, including monkeypox. As The New York Times reported, the CDC quickly removed this advisory from its website. It now says that in countries where monkeypox is spreading, “household contacts and health workers” and “other people who may have close contact with someone who has been confirmed to have monkeypox” should consider masking.
If this reminds anyone of the mask/no mask/mask and shield agency roulette of COVID advice, you’re not alone.
The CDC said it removed the mask recommendation to avoid “confusion” over the disease, which spreads primarily through direct contact, Reuters reported.
No help there.
As of June 10, the CDC had confirmed 45 cases of monkeypox in 15 states and Washington DC As of July 1, there were 460 cases in 30 states, Puerto Rico and DC
It calls for action. On the contrary, he called for action a month ago. The Biden administration has said it is accelerating its response by expanding testing capacity and expanding access to vaccinations.
Critics say it may be too late.
“For the past month we have been kind of shouting how bad the diagnostic situation is for monkeypox. And it really was a clear, avoidable mistake, and it’s very clear that this administration failed to learn the lessons of early COVID,” said James Krellenstein, co-founder of HIV treatment advocacy group Prep4All.
“I think we’re going to keep repeating those mistakes because that’s our record. … We’ve had, what, more than five or six waves of COVID, and each time we seem to be a bit caught off guard,” said Jon Andrus, adjunct professor of global health at George University’s Milken Institute School. Washington. of Public Health.
We need our leaders to be on point, not off guard. Note to the Biden administration: Do better.