Restore CDC’s authority, say top US professors

More than a dozen top professors and other staff at Emory University in Georgia are calling for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead the US efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC has been the lead agency in battling other recent pandemics and disease outbreaks, including the 2009 H1N1 swine influenza pandemic, the 2003-2004 SARS outbreak and the spread of Zika virus in 2015 and 2016.

But regular briefings by the CDC on coronavirus were stopped by March and the White House took over national public briefings.

This is a mistake, the Emory staffers, all of them members of the National Academy of Medicine, wrote in a letter to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sunday.

“We call on our state and nationwide industry, academic, and government leaders to take urgent action to ensure that the CDC, based here in Georgia, regains its leading position in these times,” the group wrote.

Signatories include Claire Sterk, President of Emory University; Dr. William Foege and Dr. Jeffrey Koplan who are former directors of the CDC; and Dr. James Curran, who is dean of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

“If we are to win the battle against COVID-19, we need the CDC’s scientific independence and unstifled voice,” they wrote.
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