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Gestalt#43 – SARS-2 Pandemic

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Tabitha111 View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 22 2021 at 6:10am

monotreme1000 | March 22, 2021
Gestalt#44 – SARS-2 Pandemic – Monotreme's Blog (wordpress.com)


Public Health Incompetence is Dangerous to your Health


For many years, I have argued that the public health establishment in the United States was largely incompetent and would be unable to handle a serious pandemic. I received pushback on this from some in Flublogia who were themselves connected to the public health establishment. It gives me no pleasure to be proven right on this issue. As I have said many times, this is not a partisan issue. Many of the incompetents in public health were in place before Trump became President. Many of them are still in place. At this point, I do not see any indication that politicians recognize the problem or feel any particular urgency to clean house and hire people with the right skills and attitude.


We live in the 21st Century and have unparalleled tools with which to analyze data related to public health. These tools are not being used. Go to any public health site and look at their webpage.

Most state and local public health websites look like they were designed by cousin Ernie in the 1990s. Think they know anything at all about Big Data? Yeah, not much. The CDC website looks more professional. But its hard to navigate to get key information. And that may be in part because they don't bother to collect key information.

There is an interesting article in The Atlantic called: Why the Pandemic Experts Failed. We’re still thinking about pandemic data in the wrong ways.

The authors describe in painful detail the lethal shortcomings in how the CDC collected epidemiological data. These journalists put together a team of volunteers to track how many and where tests were being done. They were shocked to find that the CDC was relying on their numbers, numbers collected and analyzed by journalists and volunteers.

Is this because the CDC doesn't have enough money? No. The CDC budget, just for health statistics, is $160,397,000. Their total budget in 2020 was over 1 billion dollars. I don't think we got our money's worth.


For epidemiology, what we need is experts in big data, database management and molecular genetics and people who will be aggressive about collecting data from the States. What we have is experts on phone questionnaires and brown-nosing politicians.


I wish the new Director of the CDC well. But thus far, her public comments about the CDC personnel seemed aimed at soothing demoralized employees rather than cleaning house and replacing proven incompetents. She appears to be a public health insider who will place an emphasis on playing nice with politicians and the same public health officials who failed us this past year.
Unfortunately, only people with these "credentials" will get jobs like this.

 Anyone who threatens to rock the boat and bring the CDC into the 21st Century with new personnel will be black-balled by the establishment. Thus far, I have seen no reason to expect any improvement in epidemiological data collection or analysis from the CDC.


Waiting for Lander


When I heard that Dr. Eric Lander had been chosen to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, I had some hope that he would bring viral sequencing into the 21st Century, something he is especially well-qualified to do.

I have been looking for news that might indicate that he will shake up the viral genome sequencing establishment and apply our incredible technological advantages to the pandemic. I haven't seen much on this but now know why. Dr. Lander has still not been confirmed in his position. This seems incredible to me. It is another example of the lack of urgency in combating the pandemic on the part of politicians.


The Germans and GISAID


I have been disturbed for some time that the Chancellor of Germany has been forming alliances with dictators in China and Russia. It reminds one of Germany's unhappy predilection to be on the wrong side in World Wars. The current Chancellor of Germany is anti-American, an attitude she shares with many others in her government. Why does this matter now?


Back in 2009, I wrote about the founding of GISAID: "Peter Bogner’s Excellent Skiing Techniques and Killer Flu Database"Peter Bogner’s Excellent Skiing Techniques and Killer Flu Database – Monotreme's Blog (wordpress.com) and the almost unbelievable control of much of flu virus sequences by a ski instructor, Peter Bogner. All mention of Mr. Bogner has apparently been scrubbed from the GISAID site. GISAID - History

Does he still have any involvement? I haven't been able to find out. The GISAID is governed by the "Freunde von GISAID e.V.".

Who is on their board? I can't find this information on the GISAID site. I can't find it with a Google search. Why are they hiding? Is there any government supporting GISAID? Only one is mentioned - Germany.

Try to find more information about the involvement of the German government involvement from the GISAID site and get a "404" error.

 Are there any other countries with privilidged access to GISAID? China? Russia? Who knows. During the current pandemic, I have seen many reports praising GISAID. Why? They have restrictive terms, prohibit public sharing of data and have an opaque governance structure. No journalists are bothered by this. I am. Actual scientists are also concerned about how GISAID operates. Read an interesting discussion here.


Scientists who want to contribute to saving the world can contribute their data to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

SARS-CoV-2 Resources - NCBI (nih.gov)

It is available to everyone in the world, without restriction. It is funded by the US government.





'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'
--Confucius

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