CDC guidelines deepen Biden’s ‘forever COVID’ policy
On Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new COVID-19 guidelines that remove or reduce recommendations for quarantine, isolation and testing of exposed and infected people. The changes are the latest in a long line of anti-science agency policies. They mark a deepening of the Biden administration’s “forever COVID” policy that has been forced upon the American people.
Echoing the refrain from White House officials in July, CDC official and co-author of the new guidelines Greta Massetti told a press conference that “COVID-19 is here to stay.”
The changes come amid a months-long surge of four different Omicron sub-variants, with the most dangerous BA.5 sub-variant now dominating. Over the past three months, more than 100,000 people on average have officially been infected every day, with the true figure being between ½ and 1 million, while the seven-day average of new daily deaths has once again topped 500. At the same time, virtually no action is being taken to contain the unprecedented global outbreak of monkeypox, which has already infected more than 11,000 Americans, including at least eight children.
The timing of the CDC guidelines was clearly intended to coincide with the new school year and provide pseudo-scientific coverage to keep schools open regardless of the level of transmission. Notably, in January 2021, Massetti participated in a town hall event with economist Emily Oster, one of the biggest school reopening fanatics, to advocate for schools to reopen even before the vast majority of the American population is vaccinated. A few days later, Oster held a similar event with Jay Bhattacharya, co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration.
The CDC now recommends not quarantining those exposed and conducting contact tracing and testing surveillance in most settings. The guidelines reaffirm the arbitrary five-day isolation period for those infected. With that in mind, the CDC scrapped its “test to stay” program, which encouraged exposed students to stay in school as long as they tested negative. Although the program is initially unscientific, the new guidelines discourage both testing and quarantine of exposed students. Instead, according to Massetti, those exposed should simply wear masks.
On the same day the guidelines were released, Senator Bernie Sanders interviewed White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, who demanded that schools remain open, saying, “We should expect to a school year in which every child is in school, is in person, full time, for the whole year. I think we all have the ability to do that, and that should be the only acceptable standard. When Sanders made the absurd claim that “kids…don’t die” from COVID-19, Jha didn’t correct him.
In fact, during the 2021-2022 school year, while there were some, albeit minimal, mitigations in Democratic Party-run school districts, the CDC recorded more than 1,000 pediatric deaths from COVID- 19. This summer alone, more than 200 children have officially died from the virus. Even before school resumed, child hospitalizations recently reached the same levels as at the height of the Delta wave last September.
The CDC guidelines are built on a foundation of misinformation, omission, and lies. The agency’s central contention, consistent with the White House, is that public health measures to stop transmission are unnecessary because “the tools” exist to prevent serious illness and death. Throughout the document, the focus is on preventing “medically important” illnesses, which are defined as severe acute illness or post-COVID-19 conditions (i.e. long COVID).
From the CDC’s own data, it’s clear that every infection should be considered “medically significant.” The agency published a study last week on the effects of COVID-19 in children, which found that previously infected people were at significantly higher risk for multiple life-threatening conditions, including acute pulmonary embolism, myocarditis and cardiomyopathy, thromboembolic events venous disease, acute renal failure and type 1 diabetes, in addition to debilitating symptoms such as smell and taste disturbances, circulatory problems, fatigue and pain.
Alarmingly, a hypothetical projection conducted by government analyst Stuart Jones, using CDC long COVID prevalence estimates, found that after 20 to 30 years under the current “forever COVID” mass infection policy, 70 90% of the population would have long severe COVID and would be considered disabled.
As for the “tools” that the Biden administration says make it possible to coexist with the virus – vaccination and therapeutics – they are increasingly ineffective against hospitalization in the face of repeated mass infections, declining immunity and to viral evolution. Studies have already shown that the virus mutates in response to the antiviral drug Paxlovid, and scientist Dr Eric Topol recently said that viral resistance to the drug is “inevitable”.
Another study released by the CDC in July found that during Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 waves last winter and spring respectively, vaccine effectiveness (VE) against hospitalization fell precipitously. For people who received two doses, the VE versus hospital admission fell from 61% in period BA.1 to 24% in period BA.2. For those who had received a third injection more than 120 days earlier, the effectiveness fell from 85% to just 52%. This knowledge makes it all the more criminal that the latest CDC guidelines maintain that two doses constitute a complete primary series.
The immense danger posed by viral evolution, including variants that evolve to be more transmissible, more resistant to the immune system, more virulent, or any combination of the three, is well understood by the CDC and the White House.
In the same interview with Bernie Sanders, Dr Jha acknowledged that “the virus is currently evolving very rapidly” with sub-variants “every few months, major variants every 6-9 months”. He continued: “We are updating our vaccines, we are going to have a whole new generation of vaccines this fall which will be very specific to the variant that currently exists. … Now we may have a curve ball … a more serious, more contagious virus. But I think in the long run, senator, with the tools we have, we keep updating them, getting better treatments, I’m confident we can stay ahead of this virus.
The claim that the government will be able to ‘stay ahead of this virus’ with updated vaccines is contradicted by the fact that the virus is ‘evolving very rapidly’. Vaccines designed for current variants will have reduced efficacy against any new dominant variant when released. Meanwhile, the behaviors encouraged by CDC and Biden administration officials that will result in rapid and widespread transmission, only accelerate the process of viral evolution that will sooner or later produce such a “curve ball.”
The entire political establishment and mainstream media hailed the new guidelines. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), issued a press release, saying, “We welcome these guidelines. …COVID-19 and other viruses are still with us, but with the multiple prevention and treatment options available, now is not the time for new mandates.
Bourgeois commentators argue that the guidelines supplement existing public opinion and behavior, but a public health agency has a responsibility to make scientific recommendations based on the “control and prevention” of disease, not self- saying public opinion.
Moreover, the confusion and “pandemic fatigue” that exists in the population is a direct product of the media’s relentless propaganda campaign and the CDC’s own series of disastrous policies. These include, to name a few, reduce isolation times for infected people to meet business labor demands, handle the community mask guide map to minimize transmission rates and allow mask mandates in public transport when it expires.
The CDC is totally discredited as a political instrument of the ruling class, aligned with the Democratic Party and the Biden administration. The language of its guidelines and press releases is directly inspired by a public relations guideline sent to Democratic officials by polling firm Impact Research, which prioritizes midterm votes on human health.
Since Omicron’s push last winter, the Biden administration has increasingly brazenly abandoned its mitigation approach and aligned itself with the “herd immunity” strategy championed by Biden’s fascist predecessor, Donald Trump. While the capitalist class has tactical differences on how best to maintain its power, it is entirely unified on the policy of perpetual mass infection and social murder. Around the world, almost every government outside of China has adopted the same deadly policies in the face of the pandemic.
Those making these decisions, including CDC and White House officials, have proven they have no right to dictate public health. The demand for “COVID forever” is a precursor to “monkeypox forever” and any pathogen that emerges next. It is not a question of replacing individuals but of changing which class rules society.
Only the working class, armed with a revolutionary socialist perspective, can end this nightmare. This demands that the political lessons be learned, above all, the urgent need to develop a mass movement of the working class in opposition to the Democratic Party and outside the control of the pro-corporate labor apparatus.
The The International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC) must be extended to all workplaces, regions and countries, in order to lay the foundations for the mobilization of the working class in defense of human life and the reorganization of society in its own interest.