Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House

Vinay Prasad

Building trust in institutions is vital to their success, but as we enter the third year of the pandemic, public health still seems hellbent on destroying itself.

In recent weeks, we have seen flip flops on major policy proposal: a vaccine passport for domestic air-travel and authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 6mo-4 years. These were publicly flirted with, but eventually abandoned. The administration has pushed medical products through, without the traditional advisory boards (as in the case of the 4th dose for Americans over 50).  We have witnessed absurd contradictions– that Kyrie Irving can watch the basketball game from the first row, but not play on the court–, and worse, that this rule only applies in New York city. Finally, the prospect that mask mandates may return in the fall looms over us, even as our rules become more absurd, with restaurant servers and preschoolers acting as the last, powerless people tasked with masking for all.  Public health, the institution, must own these absurdities and contradictions because the CDC has the scope and authority to correct them with clear guidance.  Just as we need trust, public health seems poised to destroy it .   Let’s consider these cases:

In early October 2021 Ashish Jha, the newly selected Biden COVID Czar, suggested a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel, a view he reiterated in late January 2022. On Dec 27th, Anthony Fauci emphasized the idea of a vaccine passport for domestic air travel. Politico reports that Dr. Jha has long advised the administration on health policy, and Dr. Jha has confirmed he received “updates and announcements” from the administration prior to his appointment. Then silently, the proposal was abandoned with no action taken. As a close observer, I was confused as to what happened.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

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