Friday, October 17, 2014

According to the CDC

Something caught my eye when I was at my doctor’s office last week. A majestic tree, adorned with colorful fall foliage was showcased on the October page of a wall calendar.  I smiled and pictured New England, covered bridges and colonial-styled homes. 

As I sat down and got settled for my appointment, I glanced back at the calendar and noticed something else.  My smile turned into a smirk. The calendar was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company advertising a drug for COPD.  Below the photo of the tree were the words, "According to the CDC, COPD is..."

What a shame I thought. That tree is so pretty.

According to the CDC…

Rereading that soured my mood.  I lost faith in the CDC years ago.  I never expected to, nor did I really want to, but with how the CDC has taken their time to address the rising autism rate, which is still rising, and how they’ve consistently ignore parents’ pleas for help, I don’t feel like I can trust them anymore.

The CDC is in the hot seat this week.  Not about autism, but about Ebola.  Ebola, which used to be called Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a deadly disease.  Both humans and certain primates can be infected with it.  Symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal and muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding or bruising.  If exposed to and infected with the Ebola virus, symptoms typically appear 8 to 10 days later, but can be seen from 2 to 21 days after exposure.  Five Ebola viruses have been identified, and four of them can cause disease in humans.  Treatment can be provided, and if caught early, can improve the chances of survival.   

Ebola is a deadly virus.  That I understand.  Every precaution should be taken to not be exposed to it.  But why is the Ebola news we’re being exposed to in the US being spun so out of control?  Rather than calming the nerves of those they serve, our country’s government officials have riled up the average citizen.  “Saving Lives. Protecting People.” is the CDC’s slogan, but with all the blunders we’ve seen and heard about Ebola this week, that slogan is more than a tad inaccurate.  A recent tweet from the CDC director supports that thought:

#Ebola situation is changing daily. We will continue to share what we know when we know it.

Ebola hit mainstream news several months ago.  Four months, in fact. Shouldn’t the CDC have had some sort of emergency protocol in place already?  And, long before two nurses, who were in direct contact with a patient who succumbed to the deadly disease and were exposed to the virus, shouldn’t that protocol have been used several times by now too?
It’s no wonder people are questioning the CDC.  Instead of being able to applaud their efforts, we’re watching our country’s top government health organization's efforts crumble on national television with stories like The Clipboard Guy, The Infamous Soup Run and The We'll Get Back to You Guy.

We’re supposed to put our faith in these people?  Some of whom are in charge of our health? 

I don’t think so. 

The CDC has some issues to clean up.  And I don’t mean the Ebola virus. 

Image from the NVIC FB page
Unless compromising the public’s safety while saying one thing and while doing another is part of the CDC’s mission, I believe an overhaul to the CDC is due. 

The CDC has been our country’s go to resources for health related issues for decades.  Supposedly deadly viruses like Ebola fall within their scope.  But because they’ve been obviously negligent with things they can’t cover up, I can’t help but think, what are they negligent about with what they can cover up?  

I bet a lot of other people share that thought.  With how they are handling, and quite frankly, mishandling the Ebola situation, just like many autism parents began to doubt the CDC, so are quite a few average Joe citizens beginning to doubt them too.  

We’ve flipped calendar pages quite a few times since the first Ebola news came out.  With each month’s passing, the situation has gotten bizarre, not contained.  News stories are sensationalized.  Information flip flops daily.  And lately, depending on which news you’ve subscribed to, according to the CDC, we’re all doomed. 

Some days I don’t know what to believe.  For now though, I’m going to let common sense guide me.  That’s worked before.  It's kept me from falling prey to the scripted “news” that’s flashed across a television screen.  Common sense reminds me to not feed into a steady fear mongering campaign.  It also tells me to steer clear of some news stories that begin with, “According to the CDC…”

To go back to them now, to relying on them again, while things are falling apart, while no one there seems to know what’s going on and as the CDC loses more of the public’s trust, I can’t.  I just can’t.  

xo, Cat

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