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CDC Substantially Revises Covid Guidelines
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has, as of August 19th 2022, substantially revised its Covid guidelines, lifting the requirement to quarantine if exposed to the virus, discontinuing the policy of screening people in the general population with no symptoms, and eliminating their previous policy of treating vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals differently. Greta Massetti, one of the authors of the revised CDC Covid guidelines, defended the revisions by pointing out that Covid is “here to stay” and that we need to “move to a point where Covid-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”
Many aspects of the revised guidelines are simply backtracking on a dangerous revolution in public health management that was not contemplated by standard pandemic protocols, such as the WHO’s 2019 guidelines on non-pharmaceutical interventions to mitigate a pandemic. Furthermore, these revisions do not go far enough and come incredibly late in the day, given the poor quality evidence supporting many of the CDC’s established guidelines, and given the fact that it has been obvious for a very long time that Covid was “here to stay.”
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Furthermore, with wafer-thin scientific evidence for school mask mandates, the CDC continues to recommend masking schoolchildren in certain circumstances, refuses to admit that lockdowns failed in their objectives (CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky, in a recent interview on the limitations of the CDC’s response to the pandemic, was conspicuously silent on the CDC’s failure to call out the huge risks of lockdowns) - and remains strangely optimistic about the efficacy of masking in general, after over two years of masking and hundreds of mask studies have failed to produce any convincing evidence that surgical or cloth masks used in community settings make a big difference to viral spread.
Let us not forget the enormous harms done by the CDC’s poor advice during the pandemic on vaccines - they jumped the gun by assuring the public that vaccines were likely to block infection, and became complicit in the Biden Administration’s support for workplace vaccine mandates.1 And let us not forget the CDC’s failure to warn the public about the massive downsides of lockdowns. These poor decisions by the CDC contributed to a mental health epidemic, an economic crisis, and a new form of health apartheid, among other ills.
Nonetheless, the revised guidelines do represent an important step forward by “officialdom” in recognising that we should no longer be treating Covid as a public emergency. In addition, some of these revised guidelines will make life a lot easier for a lot of people, and hopefully have a positive influence on the normalisation of Covid in other countries as well:
“CDC’s COVID-19 prevention recommendations no longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur, though they are generally mild, and persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.” - This will hopefully reduce the veneer of scientific legitimacy that was given to the abysmal manner in which the unvaccinated have been harrassed and persecuted over the past year. When, if ever, will the Biden administration pay any attention to this change?
“(Asymptomatic) testing might not be cost-effective in general community settings, especially if COVID-19 prevalence is low.” - You can say that again!
“CDC now recommends case investigation and contact tracing only in health care settings and certain high-risk congregate settings.”
“Multiple nonpharmaceutical and medical prevention measures are available to substantially reduce the risk for medically significant illness and death among persons at particularly high risk for these outcomes because of older age, disability, moderate or severe immunocompromise, or other underlying medical conditions.” - This is basically what the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration refer to as “focused protection.”
“In light of high population levels of anti–SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence, and to limit social and economic impacts, quarantine of exposed persons is no longer recommended, regardless of vaccination status.” - This will hugely reduce the disruption to people’s lives who, because of having had some contact with a Covid-exposed individual, previously were asked to isolate for five days or more.
The CDC justifies these revisions on the basis that Covid is “here to stay” and that we need to “move to a point where Covid-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.” But we’ve had the best part of two years to realise these things, and even if there were some people holding out for a zero Covid future in 2020, by 2021 it became abundantly clear that such a future was illusory. Furthermore, the vaccines failed conspicuously to block infections, putting the proverbial nail in the coffin of the notion that we could somehow live completely free from Covid.
With all of this information on the table, why did the CDC take so long to acknowledge the inevitable - that Covid was “here to stay” and public health guidelines needed to stop causing major disruptions to people’s lives?
Perhaps we will never know for sure. But a plausible explanation is that like any human being, those at the helm of the CDC wanted to save face, and were slow to admit to errors that cast them in a very bad light. By holding out so long before softening their guidance, they may hope to project an image of restraint and moderation. That would be rather ironic, given that the CDC’s failure to warn the public about the massive risks of lockdowns and their support for mask and vaccine mandates provided cover for a dangerous form of social engineering that was anything but moderate in practice.
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The CDC have been complicit in vaccine-based discrimination. For example, they uncritically report the right of employers to require an employee to be vaccinated, and the legal requirement for unvaccinated employees of large businesses to be tested on a weekly basis, in a section of their “Workplace Vaccination Program” page entitled “Vaccine Requirements and Exemptions.” Apart from the ethical issues involved in violating informed consent to medical treatment, data from several countries have shown that the vaccines have performed very poorly at blocking infections.