January 17, 2022

ABC Under Fire for Editing of CDC Director’s Interview

ABC News received backlash for how it edited an interview with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Good Morning America.

“In the interview, Walensky discussed a study that showed how most vaccinated people who died of coronavirus were also sick for other reasons. But the way the interview was edited, it wasn’t clear she was talking about vaccinated people — and references spread widely online implying she was talking about all COVID-19 victims,” the AP reported.

According to the outlet, public figures, including Donald Trump Jr. and Tucker Carlson, used the interview to “imply the Biden administration has been lying to the public about the importance of vaccines.”

Cecilia Vega asked Walensky about the “encouraging headlines” surrounding a study on how vaccines worked to prevent severe illness. Walensky’s response started with her summarizing some of the study’s findings, but the network edited out roughly 20 seconds of her answer. The director’s complete response appeared to be: “The overwhelming numbers of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities, so really these were people who were unwell to begin with.”

Neither ABC News nor Walensky provided a comment to AP for their report. But on Monday, ABC posted a version of the interview that included the previously omitted 20 seconds, with a note that said a “shorter version edited for time” was previously broadcast.


ABC News draws fire for editing of CDC director’s interview

January 6, 2022

CDC Causes Confusion After Updating COVID Isolation Guidelines — Again

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 isolation guidelines again, a change that was largely met with incredulity by many Americans who found it “confusing and nonsensical.”

The CDC now says that if someone in an isolation period wants to take a rapid test after five days, they can. However, the CDC doesn’t advise taking a rapid test. But, if someone does decide to take the test and the results come back positive, they should stay in isolation for 10 days total.

If the test comes back negative, people may leave isolation but should wear a mask around others until day 10.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins noted the CDC’s change in a series of tweets, which quickly garnered attention and criticism.

“The CDC has updated its isolation guidance. They still don’t recommend a rapid test after 5 days, but say if you take one and it’s positive, isolated people should continue isolating for 5 more days. Those who leave isolation are urged not to fly on planes or eat in restaurants,” Collins tweeted.

“The updated guidance advising people to stay isolated until day 10 if they have a positive rapid test after five days in isolation appears to contradict Dr. Walensky’s claim to CNN last week that ‘we wouldn’t change our guidance based on the result of the rapid test,'” Collins added.

“If you thought the previous isolation guidance was insufficiently confusing and nonsensical, you’ll *love* the updated isolation guidance,” virologist Angela Rasmussen tweeted.

“We don’t recommend you take a test. They’re hard to find, and they can be expensive. Oh, and the result can only make your life harder, not easier. But maybe take one if it’s possible?” wrote Aaron Carrol, Chief Health Officer at Indiana University.


CDC sparks outrage with ‘confusing’ updated COVID isolation guidance: ‘Seriously?’

January 2, 2022

Fauci Defends New CDC Guidelines

Dr. Anthony Fauci defended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent decision to reduce the recommended COVID-19 quarantine time to five days for people who are asymptomatic.

In the CDC’s press release regarding the change, the organization cited science as the reason for the update. But Fauci, the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser, said there was a need to reduce the isolation period to get people back to work.

“The reason is that now that we have such an overwhelming volume of cases coming in, many of which are without symptoms, there’s the danger that this is going to have a really negative impact on our ability to really get society to function properly,” Fauci told Morning in America.

“The CDC made a decision to balance what’s good for public health at the same time as keeping the society running,” he continued.

The decision, Fauci said, strikes a balance of keeping Americans safe without “drain[ing] society of their very critical workers.”

“It’s not 100% risk-free but then again nothing is 100% risk-free,” Fauci said.

Fauci said asymptomatic people leaving isolation after five days should mask diligently around others and when they return to work. 

“Let them go out with a mask being careful so that they can fulfill their job in society to keep society going smoothly,” he said. 

Fauci’s comments come after the CDC’s guideline update faced some criticism.

Last week, former Surgeon General Jerome Adams advised the public against following the guidance.

“I love the CDC. Grew up wanting to work there and have been one of their most ardent defenders. I never dreamed the day would come when I would advise people NOT to follow their guidance,” Adams tweeted on Tuesday. “They wouldn’t even follow it for their own family.”


Fauci defends CDC guidelines, says ‘We’re still in the middle of a pandemic’

December 31, 2021

Former Surgeon General Warns Against CDC Guidance

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned the public against following the recent update to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines shortening the recommended quarantine duration for asymptomatic people to five days.

“Regardless of what CDC says, you really should try to obtain an antigen test (I know- easier said than done) and confirm it’s negative prior to leaving isolation and quarantine,” Adams tweeted. “There’s not a scientist or doctor I’ve met yet who wouldn’t do this for themselves/ their family.”

“I love the CDC. Grew up wanting to work there and have been one of their most ardent defenders. I never dreamed the day would come when I would advise people NOT to follow their guidance,” Adams wrote in a follow-up tweet.

On Monday, the CDC reduced their recommended quarantine time from 10 days to five for asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19.

“People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter,” the CDC said in a statement.

The update came after the CEO of Delta Airlines wrote a letter to the CDC requesting that it shorten their recommended quarantine time from 10 days to five.

The CDC said the decision was sparked by science that indicated most virus transmission occurs earlier in its course.

But the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, indicated that getting people back to work was the inspiration behind the update.

“The reason is that with the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with omicron, one of the things we want to be careful of is we don’t have so many people out,” Fauci told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Monday, adding that he thought the decision was a good choice.

“If you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, especially those with essential jobs,” he added.

When asked if it’s difficult for Americans to keep track of the CDC’s changes, Fauci said: “It just makes sense, keeping them out for five days.”

“I don’t think it’s confusing,” he added. “I think it’s a rather crisp recommendation.”


Trump’s surgeon general criticizes CDC guidance

December 30, 2021

CDC Changes COVID Quarantine Guidelines After Request from Delta CEO

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated guidelines for people who test positive for COVID-19 but don’t have any symptoms, shortening the recommended isolation period from 10 days to five.

The move comes days after Reuters reported that the CEO of Delta Airlines sent a letter to the CDC asking them to change their recommended quarantine period for anyone who tests positive for a breakthrough COVID-19 infection to five days from 10.

“With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations,” Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian wrote on December 21. “Similar to healthcare, police, fire, and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may exacerbate shortages and create significant disruptions.”

Reuters reported that the CDC declined to comment on the story.

On December 27, the CDC put out a press statement announcing the change, with their new guidelines almost exactly matching what the Delta CEO had requested.

“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others,” the statement read. “The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the “updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

However, many people were dubious of the CDC’s motivations based on the timing of the change.

“So we find out that Delta CEO Ed [Bastian] asked the CDC to reduce the recommended quarantine time from 10 days to 5 for vaccinated people because of workforce impact. This change has nothing to do with the virus or your health & everything to do with the profits of corporations,” former Texas congressional candidate Russell Foster (D) wrote on Twitter.

Flight attendants are pushing back against the new guidance as well.

“The CDC gave a medical explanation about why the agency has decided to reduce the quarantine requirements from 10 to five days, but the fact that it aligns with the number of days pushed by corporate America is less than reassuring,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International.

“We said we wanted to hear from medical professionals on the best guidance for quarantine, not from corporate America advocating for a shortened period due to staffing shortages,” Nelson said.

November 26, 2021

U.S. Overdose Deaths Hit ‘Devastating’ All-Time High

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on drug overdose deaths in the U.S., showing that an estimated 100,300 Americans died of drug overdoses between May 2020 and April 2021.

Officials say the staggering number is a never-before-reached milestone, with overdose deaths spiking nearly 30% in the last year.

“This is unacceptable and it requires an unprecedented response,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of National Drug Control Policy.

Experts theorize the top contributing factors to the increase in overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of fentanyl in illicit drug supplies and the pandemic, which left many users socially isolated and unable to receive treatment or other support.

Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University expert on drug abuse issues, called the figure “devastating.”

“It’s a magnitude of overdose death that we haven’t seen in this country,” Keyes said.

Drug overdoses now surpass annual deaths from car crashes, guns, influenza, and pneumonia. The total now nears that of diabetes-related deaths, which is the U.S.’s seventh-highest cause of death. And experts say it doesn’t look as though it’s improving any time soon.

Robert Anderson, the CDC’s chief of mortality statistics, said the 2021 tally is likely to surpass 100,000. Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a drug policy expert at the University of California, San Francisco, concurred with Anderson’s prediction.

“2021 is going to be terrible,” Ciccarone said.


U.S. overdose deaths topped 100,000 in one year, officials say

September 29, 2021

DEA warns of increase in fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl, meth

The Drug Enforcement Administration released a public safety alert about an increase in the number of fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine.

The DEA said it seized over 9.5 million bogus pills this year. Lab tests show a sharp increase in pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, considered a lethal dose.

“The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths fueled by illegally manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine,” said Anne Milgram, DEA administrator, in a statement. “DEA is focusing resources on taking down the violent drug traffickers causing the greatest harm and posing the greatest threat to the safety and health of Americans.”

The warning comes amid CDC reports of a record number of deaths caused by drug overdoses.

Officials say gangs and criminal drug networks make the fake drugs look like prescription opioids like oxycodone or stimulants like Adderall. According to the DEA, China supplies chemicals for fentanyl manufacturing in Mexico — and that’s the origin of the bulk of counterfeit pills found in the US.

“Today, we are alerting the public to this danger so that people have the information they need to protect themselves and their children,” Milgram said.


DEA warns of sharp increase in fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl and meth

September 15, 2021

Former Trump advisers warned of government’s ‘critical mistakes’ in early pandemic response

According to recently released correspondence, former President Donald Trump’s top advisers used encrypted emails to warn of the government’s “critical mistakes” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virologist Steven Hatfill, a consultant for the Trump administration, warned White House trade director Peter Navarro in February 2020 that the nation didn’t have an appropriate sense of how many covid-positive cases were in the US.

“In truth we do not have a clue how many are infected in the USA. We are expecting the first wave to spread in the US within the next 7 days,” Hatfill wrote to Navarro on Feb. 29.

“This will be accompanied by a massive loss of credibility, and the Democratic accusations are just now beginning. This must be countered with frank honesty about the situation and decisive direct actions that are being taken and can be seen in the broadcast news.”

Hatfill blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ineffective testing kits. Both advisers expressed frustration with Dr. Anthony Fauci for rebuffing their efforts to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine.

The House select committee on COVID-19 obtained the correspondence as part of an ongoing investigation.

“These exchanges add to the growing body of evidence that the Trump Administration knew the significant risk posed by the coronavirus but failed to execute an effective strategy to reduce the loss of American lives,” committee chairman James Clyburn (D-SC) wrote in a letter to Navarro. “The Select Subcommittee seeks to understand what the leaders in the Trump Administration knew, when they knew it, and how their decisions may have contributed to the catastrophic loss of life.”


Former Trump advisers used private emails to warn of ‘critical mistakes’ in pandemic response

September 7, 2021

CDC estimates more than 80% of Americans protected from COVID-19

Roughly 83% of Americans aged 16 and up have some degree of immunity to COVID-19 from vaccination or prior infection, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers found that about 20% of the U.S. population has immunity from prior infection, though the figure varies by age and other demographics. The remaining 60% received a vaccine, which confers similar immunity. The CDC based this information on antibody levels in approximately 1.4 million blood samples.

Experts previously said the goal for herd immunity was 70-80%, but many now say that more vaccinations are needed to protect against variants.


CDC study estimates over 80% of Americans are now protected from COVID-19

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