Who Really Failed to Stop the Coronavirus from Hitting American Soil?

A troubling look at the CDC’s elite Epidemic Intelligence Service.

By Sunday, the United States marked almost 350,000 cases of COVID-19, with nearly 10,000 deaths. The pandemic took down a strong economy and millions of Americans are out of work. This disaster might not have happened if a little-known American government agency was doing its job.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deploys something called the Epidemic Intelligence Service. As Diana Robeletto Scalera of the CDC Foundation explains, the EIS “works day and night domestically and globally to ensure epidemics in other countries do not hit American soil.” EIS disease detectives are “are the ones responsible and they take this role very seriously.” Even so, the coronavirus epidemic certainly hit American soil, so Americans have good cause to wonder about this epidemic intelligence service.

Established in 1951, Scalera notes, the EIS is “a two-year postgraduate program of service and on-the-job training for health professionals interested in the practice of epidemiology.” Since the program began, more than 3,500 EIS “officers” have been trained.

According to the CDC, “EIS officers serve on the front lines of public health, protecting Americans and the global community.” When diseases and public health threats emerge, “EIS officers investigate, identify the cause, rapidly implement control measures, and collect evidence to recommend preventive actions.”

The EIS did not identify the cause of the coronavirus and any rapidly implemented control measures proved a complete failure. So coronavirus victims have a right to wonder what these intrepid disease detectives are really about. As the CDC explains, EIS alumni have gone on to become CDC directors, leading CDC scientists, acting surgeons general, and even World Health Organization assistant directors-general.

Other EIS officers “have taken a leadership role in foundations, nongovernmental organizations and the news media.” EIS veteran Daniel B. Jernigan is the current director of the CDC’s Influenza Division. Dr. Jernigan “coordinated responses for dozens of disease crises,” and “greatly improving the nation’s ability to identify, prepare for and respond to inevitable flu pandemics.”

Whatever great improvements Dr. Jernigan managed to coordinate did not equip the nation to prepare for, and respond to, the current pandemic. As it happens, before the coronavirus arrived on American soil, the EIS deployed officers deployed in China.

As Healio notes, second-year EIS officer Emilio Dirlikov learned about the EIS while conducting research in Lanzhou, China. There an EIS officer recommended that he apply for the program, and Dirlikov was duly accepted. Any EIS officers present in China failed to prevent the coronavirus from arriving on American soil, but the EIS has escaped attention from the establishment media.

Those afflicted with the virus might want to know which EIS officers slipped up on the home front, but so far no official word from the CDC. Maybe one of those EIS veterans now working “in the news media” is shielding EIS and CDC bosses from bad publicity over the consequences of their massive failure.

As those suffering from the pandemic might recall, America’s entire “intelligence community,” including the CIA, FBI and NSA, failed to stop a squad of Islamic jihadists from hijacking airliners and crashing them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Nearly 20 years later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with its vaunted Epidemic Intelligence Service, fails to prevent the Wuhan virus from hitting American soil, claiming thousands of lives, and wrecking the American economy.

As Roger Kimball observes, millions are out of work, but those government and medical officials who determine what counts as essential “never seem to lose their jobs.” That should come as no surprise.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a budget of more than $6 billion, is part of the government-medical complex, a division of the deep state that remains in power as politicians move in and out of office. Whatever their failures, the white coat supremacists never lose their jobs, never have to say they are sorry, and the money keeps coming.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is setting up a select committee to investigate President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. In the style of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during the impeachment hearings, look for CDC types to testify.

Obama CDC boss Tom Frieden is already on record that President Trump’s press briefings are “not a way to run a railroad,” and that “fighting an epidemic without CDC involved at the decision table and at the podium is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.” No word from Frieden, a former New York health official, about the CDC failure to prevent the Chinese virus from hitting American soil.

Maybe Speaker Pelosi will call the Epidemic Intelligence Service officer who became an assistant director-general of the World Health Organization. On January 29, WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, opposed a travel ban from China, adding, “China is actually setting a new standard in terms of outbreak response. We would have seen many more cases outside China by now, and probably deaths, if not for the government’s efforts.”

Did the EIS veteran agree with the China-friendly WHO boss? Did the CDC agree? So many questions, but as President Trump says, we’ll have to see what happens.

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