Coronavirus

The CDC Is Still Botching the Coronavirus Testing Process

The disease control agency is a poster child for bureaucratic incompetence.

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Over and over again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have bungled the response to COVID-19. The agency is supposed to stand at the forefront of the federal government's defense against pandemics, but in the effort to track, identify, and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, it has repeatedly proven that it's not up to the task. 

The agency publishes statistics purporting to show the number of Americans tested, and the number of positive and negative results. In theory, this should provide a clear snapshot of both the spread of the virus and the number of people who have been tested. 

Yet as The Atlantic reported yesterday, the agency has been conflating the results of two very different tests: viral tests, which determine if an individual is sick right now, and antibody tests, which are designed to reveal whether an individual has ever been exposed to the pathogen. This makes it impossible to determine the true spread of the virus at any given moment. As The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer write, combining the results of these two tests without providing a breakdown of how many fall into which category is, "at best, a debilitating mistake." 

It isn't the first such error the CDC has made. At nearly every stage of the crisis, the agency has botched the job in small and large ways that continue to cripple our response. The agency is a poster child for bureaucratic incompetence.

Early in February, the agency misreported the results from mislabeled test samples taken from a group of individuals who were being quarantined at a San Diego military base after being evacuated from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. The CDC initially informed the group that, following testing, everyone was negative for the virus. But after the mislabeling was discovered, it turned out that one woman had tested positive—and had been released from the hospital to return to quarantine on the base. The mixup was blamed on a miscommunication with the hospital. 

A far more consequential error also occurred in February, when the agency botched the development of the first batch of test kits that states were supposed to use to begin the testing process. The CDC had already declined to use a German test backed by the World Health Organization, preferring to create its own, as is typical for the agency. This cost several weeks during the time when the virus was just beginning to spread in the U.S. And when the CDC did send out test kits to states, the majority of those kits delivered faulty results. Crucial elements of the test kits were "terribly designed," a scientist who studies viruses told ViceOnly when the testing process was turned over to the private sector was it put back on track. 

In developing the faulty kits, the CDC had made basic scientific mistakes. Eventually, an agency spokesperson admitted that the agency "did not manufacture its test consistent with its own protocol." The errors were simple and avoidable, and they have consistently left independent experts aghast. "The incompetence has really exceeded what anyone would expect with the C.D.C.," one Harvard epidemiologist told The New York Times in March. "This is not a difficult problem to solve in the world of viruses."

And in doing so, they cost the country the one thing it did not have to spare in the crisis: time. A virus spreads like a fire. Quickly stamp out the initial sparks, and it won't grow. Let a spark turn into a larger blaze, and it becomes far more difficult to manage. But you can't stamp out the sparks if you can't see them. Without functioning test kits, the country could not determine COVID-19's spread, could not see who was infected and where, and could not respond appropriately. 

Months later, as reporting snafus make clear, the CDC is still making easily avoidable mistakes. And they are still costing us time we do not have. 

The CDC is not alone in its errors. Several states have been blending their test results as well, rendering it difficult to determine the local impact of the virus. But the CDC's role as the officially designated first line of defense makes the agency's failure far more significant. Without clear, reliable, and accurate reporting from the CDC, it becomes nearly impossible to take stock of the pandemic's damage. 

The virus has upended American life in ways that make it unusually difficult to predict the future. But thanks to the CDC, we have a problem that is even worse: No only do we not know what is going to happen, but we don't know what is happening. 

From the outset, the CDC has contributed to the already considerable uncertainty and instability of the moment, failing at the most basic and essential tasks it has been charged with carrying out. Its many failures are a reminder that centralized systems with a single point of failure tend to heighten risks in moments of crisis. And it's a stark warning to all those who see the crisis as an argument for giving federal authorities more power in crises like this: That means giving more authority and more responsibility to agencies like the CDC, with all the lethal consequences that could result.

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  1. Who cares? For 99.5% of people it doesn’t if they have, had, or will have the virus.

    It doesn’t fucking matter.

    1. Please! This is just another example of a right wing propaganda outlet masquerading as a legitimate news site, no different than Faux News’ schtick. The brave and courageous federal employees at the CDC were the first to recognize the deadly threat posed by the novel coronavirus but Trump bundled the response and as a result, nearly 100,000 Americans have lost their lives. Shame on the Republican party and Donald Trump!

      1. You’re terrible at this Shreek

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      2. Do I get phone service with Trump’s bundled response?

      3. If this is indeed some type of propaganda outlet, WHY exactly do you feel the unnecessary need to espouse your drivel then?

        You’re another unimpressive illiberal troll, Cochise.

        The strain was known to be another coronavirus in Dec ‘19. Our nation’s dealt with the coronavirus strains on several instances for ~ 85 years. Nearly every instance these viruses are China based.

        ‘03 SARS (Yes from China) being the previous coronavirus strain prior to this recent one.

        Bundled the response? The response was on each & every state’s governors to answer that call. Your boy Cuomo has 4500+ related deaths in nursing homes on his hands because he told the hospitals to send those with the virus INTO those nursing homes!!!

        Your passing the buck of blame, deaths onto the Feds/ Trump administration is intellectually dishonest.

        The coronavirus was in the states by Nov ‘19. The Chinese government didn’t let the world know of their virus being released worldwide for ~ 3 weeks, all the while NOT curbing their transportation around the globe!

        The sheer number of Chinese students in the U.S. traveling to/ from, int’l travel into & out of the U.S. ad hominem is immense.

        Even when the South Koreans spoke to the WHO in Nov. 19 about their concerns of the virus, WHO scoffed at the S Korean’s concerns & like the Chinese government still hadn’t shared the risk of this strain.

        The Trump administration told the states his administration they’d be available for whatever the states may need.

        Remember Cuomo pleading for Trump to send more respirators, masks? Whereas Cuomo didn’t know he’d 40k+ respirators in storage?

        How about people donating masks to NY & Cuomo’s response was to make wall art of said-donated masks?

        Trump closed the travel to/ from within 10 days of the first virus related death in the U.S. Though even then our medical experts didn’t know right away what that person passed away from!

        I can go on though what’s the point. You’re an emotionally led, TDS goon.

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      4. Who knew that the CCP Wu Mao (50 cents) Army hired Rabbis?

        “The national shortage of N95 respirator masks can be traced back to 2009 after the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, when Obama was advised to replenish the national stockpile but did not, according to reports from Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times” (hardly “right-wing” media).

        It is tragic that the recommendations of a “federally backed task force and a safety equipment organization…to replenish our emergency stockpile with 100 million N95 masks after the H1N1 and Ebola episodes were callously ignored.

        We will never know how many courageous health care workers (certainly some who do not conform heteronormative binary gender identities, likely others that were people of color, and 3rd wave gender feminists) needlessly suffered or died due to the negligence, hubris, and malfeasance of the previously deified Obama.

        Instead of following the advice of health professionals Obama was too busy establishing his “legacy” by funding Iran’s proxy terrorist armies, and rescuing the Castro regime from economic collapse without getting even a single civil rights concession in return.

      5. still getting paid to harp on the proven false memes you promote? I’dathunk you’d have seen the light by now. Hmph…..

      6. Considering your handle, I will presume the post is sarcastic. Not very funny, but then there is nothing funny about Harvey either.

        1. Yeh, reread his post. Gotta be parody.

          I hope.

      7. On February 29 the CDC said the US had little to worry about concerning the coronavirus. They disagreed with restricting travel from China as unnecessary. The left picked it up as overreacting and xenophobic. By March 29 the CDC said the President had saved thousands of lives and gave them time to respond.
        The brave and courageous federal employees at the CDC are like most bureaucrats. They can’t make it in the private sector where there is competition and once in the government employee stay there for life. That is why the private labs have now developed tests that are the best in the world and make the CDC test look like model T Fords.
        Of those deaths New York accounts for one fourth. If you want to throw shame aim it at the governors that waited to long to react. The original estimate was 2.2 million deaths in the US. 100,000 is a far cry from that and shows a great success. Now put your head back where the sun never shines and let people that still know how to think have a discussion.

      8. For the love of God, who the fuck is this retard?

    2. The head of the CDC said its budget of $2.3 Billion was about the same as a mid-sized hospital (about 250 beds) in a developed country. I was a Controller of a mid-sized hospital in the early 1990’s. Our yearly budget when left was about $50 Million. Today, let’s say the budget is probably about $150 Million. This CDC bureaucrat is out of touch with the real world. He confuses millions with billions. He is a pawn of Beijibg. He has no frigging clue.

  2. //And in doing so, they cost the country the one thing it did not have to spare in the crisis: time. A virus spreads like a fire. Quickly stamp out the initial sparks, and it won’t grow. Let a spark turn into a larger blaze, and it becomes far more difficult to manage. But you can’t stamp out the sparks if you can’t see them. Without functioning test kits, the country could not determine COVID-19’s spread, could not see who was infected and where, and could not respond appropriately. //

    Complete gobbledygook. Seriously, what the fuck is this?

    You should have left this to Bailey, at least he would have tried to sound somewhat scientific. Tried, not succeeded.

    1. “A virus spreads like a fire”

      Retarded

      1. no a fire when retarded slows its spread. HOW did this virus get retarded to slow its spread?
        Yoo tawkin no sense

    2. tell us now just what IS your level of professional expertise in these sorts of matters? Education. where, and what courses. Clinical experience? Even lab experieince? DO YOU EVEN KNOW the difference between a virus and a bacterium in regards propagating, and causing diseases in humans? Come on, what IS your collection of bonifides? Else you are blowing smoke, just like the clowns in hcharge of CDC. Just a diffferent KIND of smoke.

      1. So, enlighten.

        Well, we’re waiting.

        /Judge Smails.

  3. The purpose of CDC testing is to support “the narrative”.
    Period.
    I know one place the feds can cut to start paying back the trillions spent on fixing a self inflicted wound.

    1. I hope you are referring to our bloated defense budget. Nuclear weapons can’t feed the starving, undocumented Americans on our southern border. Have some compassion for the innocent children, you bigot!

      1. On the other hand, nuclear weapons can effectively close the border better than a wall – – – – –

        1. One interesting thought I had about this back in December, before this was a gleam in most people’s eyes, but after we were hearing reports of Chinese insane quarantine actions, was: what if this is another MERS, but much more transmissible? Do you as another country start doing things like stopping all travel from that country or from any of its citizens, even at the point of a gun or missile? Do you start seriously contemplating ways to be certain nobody makes it out of the quarantine zone? Up to and including using WMDs to kill everyone? I would have shit my pants if China had announced something like, ‘there was a horrific nuclear accident in and around Wuhan’ in December.

          Lots of things change when it’s a 30% mortality virus as opposed to this one.

    2. That is correct but was not formerly so. Under Trump and his new director, it has gone to hell becoming like other departments a political tool for Trump. We miss the old CDC, when it was independent of Trumpian corruption: ““What one wants in a director of the CDC is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity,” added Peter Lurie from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group. “What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda.”
      And that’s who we got.

      1. Since when has the CDC had integrity?

        They’re a federally funded entity.

        Not to mention you think they’re beholden to Trump?

        And you’re touting one of Ralph Nader’s buddy’s groups, the CSPI as being ‘sound, apolitical & just’?

        Bwahahahaha

        The CSPI is a shifty illiberal lobbying outfit that has George Soros family members in CSPI’s upper echelons.

        Unbelievable..

      2. Since when has the CDC had integrity?

        They’re a federally funded entity.

        Not to mention you think they’re beholden to Trump?

        And you’re touting one of Ralph Nader’s buddy’s groups, the CSPI as being ‘sound, apolitical & just’?

        Bwahahahaha

        The CSPI is a shifty illiberal lobbying outfit that has George Soros family members in CSPI’s upper echelons.

        Unbelievable.. I mean come on.

      3. In walks another one.

        I think TDS is worse than Covid.

  4. None of these organizations will ever work or have ever worked, because by their very nature they are reactionary and not proactive. Gut them and get them outta the way we don’t need any of these fucking dumbass buerecratic drones who have done nothing but literally lay down and block progress on a cure, testing regime or any effective response from the private sector and definitly nuked the economy from orbit with their retarded models.

    1. because by their very nature

      This is where I have a problem with modern anti-gummint libertarians and R’s. No in fact these organizations do not fail by their very nature. No more so than any other organization fails by its very nature. They fail because they are not held accountable. Basically they are put on auto-pilot and are not managed – and yet they are monopolistic. Then when they fail because of that, it becomes a convenient excuse to say ‘See we told you. Let’s just hand those responsibilities over to a different organization and then when it is privatized the market will do its magic and organizations will perform’.

      Hayek wrote – The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better.

      Unfortunately modern L’s really are against organization. R’s and D’s are only interested in how it can be corrupted for the benefit of the their particular preferred rent-seeking base (private sector and public unions respectively). IDK whether there is even still a voting base for both organizational competence and classical liberal reform

      1. Lack of accountability is the nature of bureaucracy

      2. “They fail because they are not held accountable.”…
        —- because; their very existence isn’t CLOSELY-TIED to their service market (citizens) by each citizens free-will but instead are.
        —- TIED to rioting (i.e. democracy) forces promoted by self-proclaiming propaganda ads, *free* (stolen) lunches enacted through LEGAL-FORCE and gun-threat / death punishment if defied.

        That is the very difference between a free-society and an enslaved society. (keyword: National Democratic Socialism/Communism) Our Republic has a Supreme Law written specifically to ensure these kinds of agencies never existed. Yet; ‘The People’ have decided to call that Supreme Law “outdated”, “living” and/or just flat out “void” to the detriment of every citizens freedom.

      3. ” No more so than any other organization fails by its very nature. They fail because they are not held accountable.”

        Because it’s nearly impossible to hold government employees and or government agencies accountable for anything.

        1. It is only impossible as long as no one even tries.

          The D’s are clearly structured around supporting public sector unions and that’s not a base that is interested in the message of ensuring accountability. But those unions are not the majority of actual D votes.

          The R’s are now structured around ensuring programs fail – which is actually a crappy way to gain the credibility to shrink govt but an excellent way to corrupt it for the benefit of their cronies. Said cronies (and that includes those who want the spending to continue but paid for with debt on future rather than taxes on present) are also not the majority of R votes.

  5. Hey look – Reason is pushing the left’s narrative.

    This my shocked face

    1. Wouldn’t… wouldn’t this be the right’s narrative? I mean, if they are conflating antibody tests with viral tests, they would be over-counting new confirmed cases. That would mean that the CDC is currently amplifying the problem, which is what the right has been arguing.

      1. I don’t generally read Reason blog posts.
        They are, as leftists, obsessed with testing as the end all be all of response

        1. More like, obsessed with decentralized, market solutions as the end response.

          1. Nope, not really.
            But feel free to keep tying your credibility to Reason’s

            1. Since you did not read the article, allow me to summarize:

              The CDC (which stands for Center for Disease Control, an inference to its purported job), in all its bureaucratic stupidity, has fucked up its procedures for gathering information to understand the scope of the coronavirus, right after it fucked up its management of designing and distribution lab tests for the same virus. Surely this is no surprise to anyone who has an intermediate familiarity with the literature of 20th century social science that has thoroughly concluded that central planning is a poor means of production in relation to a competitive market process. Wouldn’t life be better if the CDC instead deferred to a competitive market process to address demand signals rather than going all-in on a single approach that cannot be evaluated because there are no competing alternatives?

              tl;dr this article was criticism of the CDC, not a statement regarding the best means to address the coronavirus

              1. //The CDC is not alone in its errors. Several states have been blending their test results as well, rendering it difficult to determine the local impact of the virus. But the CDC’s role as the officially designated first line of defense makes the agency’s failure far more significant. Without clear, reliable, and accurate reporting from the CDC, it becomes nearly impossible to take stock of the pandemic’s damage.//

                I think this paragraph severely undermines your premise. In fact, it seems to be more the case that the author of the article wants the CDC to get its act together rather endorsing of any particular alternative.

                Let us assume there was no CDC.

                Would we really have been in a better position? If so, the author should have explained why.

                1. You didn’t make it to the last paragraph either?

                2. Without the CDC, we presumably would have used the German test mentioned in the article. Having a test that worked better, and having it sooner, certainly would have been an improvement over what we got.

          2. ….while complaining that the centralized federal government should have done more than it did.

    2. It’s Suderman. This week on the weekly podcast, he went on a full throated defense of the Fed printing as much money as they need to in order to keep the banks “liquid”. Nick was the only one who stopped him to argue against it.

      I’ll say this every chance I get. Suderman is a disgrace.

      1. Suderman is one step away from being a MMT believer?

    3. Hey look – Reason is pushing the left’s narrative.

      Isn’t the left’s narrative “listen to the experts, they’re never wrong”? In which case isn’t he arguing the opposite of their narrtive?

      1. Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of that in other articles.
        Leftist talking points aren’t about creating a clear picture of the whole, they’re about sniping for the sake of sniping.
        Reason’s angle has for months been “they didn’t test enough, there weren’t enough tests, we need more testing before Americans can have rights, orangemanbaaaaaad!”
        Why have they taken that approach?
        Because the left latched onto the testing talking point after they’d bitched about travel restrictions being racist and everyone should hug a chinaman and whatnot, as late as early March, then had to backtrack and overreact in the other direction to demand totalitarianism.
        Think about it: if it’s a new virus and we don’t know a treatment for it… why is testing so critical?
        It isn’t.
        If there was a difference in care for a patient with this virus vs others, testing would be useful. If we freaked out when it very first appeared and could target a limited number of infected, testing would be useful.
        But the cat was out of the bag long before anyone called for mass testing, and we’re assured by these same “testing truthers” that there isn’t a treatment for this specific virus.
        So why the testing talking point?
        It’s a red herring and the only thing leftists could latch onto to bash Trump with.
        Reason is nothing if not dutiful to its master

        1. Asymptomatic transmission is bullshit.
          The virus has been widespread for months.
          We haven’t settled on any specific treatment that knowing covid 19(84) vs other coronavirus/pneumonia would be critical.

          So what use does testing have?

          A) data
          B) precautionary isolation of positive cases without symptoms
          C) a cudgel to say “look – Trump f’d up! Orangemanbad!”

          I’ll let you decide which one you think is most important to leftists/Reason

          1. Oh, and I forgot:

            D) creating a central database of positive tests so the authorities know where locate their targets for imprisonment/death when “wAvE 2!!!!” gets hyped – or, creating a list of approved travelers who can carry their papers about to prove that they’re permitted to live life and be out in public

  6. The CDC just needs more money.

    CB
    /sarc

    1. And power. Duh.

      1. “I can’t help it! I need wider powers!”
        – W. Mouch

  7. I just hope they can stop alcoholism.

    1. Not without testing.

    2. And gun violence

      1. And Diabeetus.

  8. “This makes it impossible to determine the true spread of the virus at any given moment”
    Feature, not bug

  9. The CDC Is Still Botching the Coronavirus Testing Process

    At least they’re consistent.

  10. The CDC is the Trump administration.

    And a federal agency whose leader is the unqualified evangelical clinger selected by Trump.

    So failure is understandable . . . and was predictable.

    1. Still hiding from the coof in your trailer, with your inbred kids?

    2. You’re such an idiot.

    3. Sigh….and I was so enjoying a life free of your orts and droppings.

      Your mini-mes are so much more….intelligent and humorous.

  11. All of this article is rehashed OLD NEWS except for the Combined test results. While the Atlantic tries to paint this as some nefarious propaganda, conflating the results of antibody testing and virus testing does have a purpose. It is the combined results that allows you to get a more accurate picture of fatality rates, and total herd immunity.

    Certainly, if you are trying to understand how a virus is spreading, you should be looking at active cases. BUT THE CDC DASHBOARD ISN’T WHAT ANYONE EXCEPT REPORTERS IS USING. Every health department in each county and state is gathering its own data to understand the spread of this virus.

    This is not a screw up, it is a disagreement about the presentation of data, viewed through the lens of people who want nothing more than to tar the administration.

    1. And, where exactly is that fabled “libertarian take” in this entire “article” which, as you mentioned, is basically just lazy plagiarism from an equally shitty article in the Atlantic?

  12. Reason could reduce their carbon foot print with shorter titles:
    “The CDC Is Still Botching”
    instead of
    “The CDC Is Still Botching the Coronavirus Testing Process”

  13. “And in doing so, they cost the country the one thing it did not have to spare in the crisis: time. A virus spreads like a fire. Quickly stamp out the initial sparks, and it won’t grow. Let a spark turn into a larger blaze, and it becomes far more difficult to manage. But you can’t stamp out the sparks if you can’t see them. Without functioning test kits, the country could not determine COVID-19’s spread, could not see who was infected and where, and could not respond appropriately.”

    well then shouldn’t we be continuing the shutdown? why is every article on this horrible website about how we have to open up Buffalo Wild Wings no matter how high you’ll be able to stack the bodies??? oh yeah you’re all ghouls

    1. ::cough::

    2. “why is every article on this horrible website about how we have to open up…”

      Yeah just shut the fuck up.

      Keeping hiding out in your basement asswipe. While the rest of us go on with our lives you can eat rats and use sump water to bathe.

    3. Lol, idiot. Stick to Mickey mouse topics you can intelligently discuss.

    4. You remind me of a co-worker who said the other day how it was “too dangerous” to fly on Florida and that driving to Florida was “a safer option”. This lock down, like Russia Fever Dreams, has really clarified who the idiots in society are

      1. The virus is airborne and there aren’t any masks big enough for the airplane’s nose. Duh.

          1. And yes, I am now picturing a 747 with a giant ill-fitting paper mask over its nose, elastic bands looped around each wing

    5. It has to do with the common sense idea that if we wait for a vaccine if and when one is developed poverty from the ruined economy will kill more of the millions of Americans living on the streets then the virus. That seems like a fairly simple equation. There has never been a plan to shut down the world until a cure if found. The plan was to shutdown until the curve was flatten to reduce unneeded deaths because of hospitals being overwhelmed. What was supposed to be deadly to anyone infected has turned out to only be deadly to the elderly with underlying conditions. Under 60 unless you have really serious underlying conditions it is not that deadly. Living on the streets in poverty with the possibility of the virus coming back each year like the flue or going to work and getting to herd immunity should not be a hard choice.

  14. Our government has totally failed under Trump.

    He appointed cronies and incompetents who gutted the agencies he put them in charge of.

    1. Yeah. All those democrat governors he appointed.

      Idiot.

    2. This. Conservatives underfund and strip down Government agencies, and then point to the poor performance of the underfunded, stripped-down Government agencies as proof that they’re dysfunctional and need to be further defunded and stripped down, etc. It’s tiresome

      1. And yet just last week you were crying about “Authoritarian Trump” as now it’s as if the the failure of an Authoritarian Dictative government ( or its agencies ) is now this god-awful bad thing.

        You both could paint your own hell in heaven so long as the 5-letter word Trump could be found. Nothing but prejudices and biases here.

      2. So your claim is that the CDC is underfunded and stripped-down because of conservatives? How much do you think they should get per year? How much do you think they’re getting now? How much do you think they got when the Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House? And, how much of their budget do you think they spend on infectious disease as opposed to things like opioid addiction?

  15. Incompetence in your core mission is the inevitable result of an institution valuing political reliability over excellence.

    1. Incompetence in your core mission is the inevitable result of an institution created via the political process.

      FIFY

  16. “A virus spreads like a fire.”

    No…..every virus is unique and has its own characteristics, including degree of virulence. Some are easy to spread and some are very hard to spread…

    1. But because ‘muh 1918 flu’ bro. That’s the new narrative. Because a second wave happened in 1918 we’re sure to get one now.

  17. Any govt. agency can easily be the poster child for bureaucratic incompetence…not just the CDC. Our govt. just sucks at doing anything right except to generate useless and unwanted legislation.

    1. +10000; BINGO

  18. Why is our government so incompetent when many other governments (e.g., New Zealand, Australia, Germany, S. Korea Finland, Taiwan, Norway) can do things quite competently?

    1. What are you doing here then??? It’s really not that hard to MOVE!

    2. What things are they doing competently?

  19. Well, its only been 5 months since the CDC was informed by the Chinese CDC of what was happening. I suspect one of these years they’ll get it right. Good luck to the USA.

  20. You glossed over the most egregious of CDC’s mistakes here (I know you linked out to it). And that is the fact that they did not rely on the country’s experts to develop the tests initially. In fact, the government expressly forbid the most prominent experts in the country from developing, validating, and using their own tests. Which also exacerbated supply line issues, because the diversity of platforms that would have naturally resulted was effectively made illegal in favor of single-platform approach used by the CDC.

    And this issue should transcend political party. Because I’m not only referring to for-profit corporations like Labcorp. I’m talking about non-profit academic medical centers across the country who were poised to develop these tests and were not allowed to until nearly four weeks into the effort (at which point testing ramped up exponentially).

    “Liberal” publications like the NYT have documented this pretty well. Libertarian leaning folks have shown that this over regulation slowed testing. It’s an area where we all agree, but I’m seeing hardly any politicians clamoring for this policy to be fixed.

    1. Just what do you think wouldve happened differently if these “experts” had been “allowed” (how many even tried…) to test as you wished early on?
      Also, define “early” – give us a specific date

      1. Testing would have been far more plentiful than it was at the crucial earliest stages. Hundreds “tried” — that is to say, they began developing and validating rather quickly. That’s why when the government gave them the green light on Feb 29, many prominent academic medical centers had testing go live a mere week later (I believe Univ of Utah, Mayo, and UW were among the first, but initial reports said “about 12” if I recall). Others followed suit within about a week. Now testing is pretty widely available, and rarely are they using the CDC test — at least not covering much volume.

        The Times article around that time documented UW being denied and explicitly told to stop when they attempted to test and report early. Weeks later, they were allowed. There was a nice article on this entitled “How Delays in Testing Set Back the US Coronavirus Response” (I don’t think Reason will allow me to put up hyperlinks).

        As for a “specific date”, the first I personally remember seeing was University of Utah on March 10 (google: “ARUP Rolls Out Coronavirus testing”). But I believe others had gone live earlier in the month.

    2. Yes, Yes indeed! Trump *was* (past-tense) the regulation cutter; now it’s as if both parties are one under the new communist CARES Act. It’s almost like there isn’t a politician left who isn’t a communist short of maybe Rand Paul & perhaps Hornberger.

  21. Has it ever crossed your mind that the low prevalence of anti-bodies is either because COVID-19 is not as contagious as it was made out to be initially, or that it literally has no effect on most people, thus despite being exposed to it (like they are to millions of other viruses continuously), they don’t have any reaction at all, thus not antibody production?

    Why are these basic question not being asked? Has the world really lost it’s collective mind or are people so scared of their overlords that they think it, but choose to keep quiet?

  22. Years ago, I worked with a former government employee. His favorite expression was “close enough for government work”. He was quite serious. Let’s face it, much of civil service is a place to hang out and collect a paycheck. When the pressure is on and a quality product must be produced in limited time, failure is all but a certainty.

    1. Government is for people who don’t want to contribute anything of significance to the cultural patrimony. That’s why it’s filled with illiberal or lefties or progressives or liberals.

      Conservatives, conservative oriented, libertarians, independents tend to want to go out and do something of value.

      It’s a generalization but if we were to examine the politics or voting patterns of the government workers in North America, we’d probably see the majority vote Democrat/Liberal/NDP.

      Just like in academia and media.

      It’s pretty amazing I still have people tell me ‘not true!’ when this is easily observable – never mind literature written about it going back at least 25 years (and even beyond) and the many philosophy and intellectual channels on YouTube and Thinkspot discussing this fact and reality.

  23. It takes some kind of pretzel logic to try and spin the story into thinking Trump is at fault for the mess that is NY/NJ. If anything, he actually stepped up with giving Cuomo all the support he asked for.

    Cuomo is the incompetent here and the bureaucracy. Less so Trump. Last I checked, it wasn’t Trump who ordered sick people back to the nursing homes. BUT TRUMP!

  24. Whatever. Know what pisses me off about all this?

    It sounds like it could have been avoided. China lied and that’s why we’re in this mess.

    Simple. China has to pay for their asshole play.

    1. Sure they lied, but we still knew it was coming and did practically nothing (see my above post for an example). Even if China hadn’t lied, I don’t see the politicians and federal agencies in the US doing things much differently. The travel ban may have been implemented quicker? Otherwise, internal preparation was slow and regulatory maneuvering was stagnant. The EUA stuff came way too late also even knowing full well what was about to happen.

  25. Sigh…we ‘botched’ our way to 15MM+ tests, which is more than the next three countries combined.

    I’m sorry Mr. Suderman, the name of this publication is Reason?

  26. “The incompetence has really exceeded what anyone would expect with the C.D.C.”

    Really? I think it’s nearly impossible to overstate the amount of incompetence to be expected from any government agency.

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