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CDC multitasking hurts Ebola fight: Column

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: China
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CDC multitasking hurts Ebola fight: Column

Glenn Harlan Reynolds 5:07 p.m. EDT October 5, 2014
Disease control shouldn't extend to playground safety and occupational hazards.

"You had one job!" is the punchline on a popular Internet meme involving organizational screw-ups. Now critics are saying something similar about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response the agency's handling of the Ebola outbreak. Unfortunately, it's not true. While we'd be better off if the CDC only had one job — you know, controlling disease— the CDC has taken on all sorts of jobs unrelated to that task. Jobs that seem to have distracted its management and led to a performance that even the establishment calls "rocky." Going forward, we need to learn this lesson, for the CDC, for other agencies, and for the government as a whole.

Ebola, as fans of The Hot Zone know, is nothing new, and neither are worries about it spreading beyond its usual range. And disease control experts have long known that the key to stopping it is finding people who were exposed, tracing their contacts, and keeping them under observation until they are past the disease's incubation period, and keeping anyone actively contagious under quarantine until they have died or recovered.

Nonetheless, when Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan arrived in Dallas, the system didn't work. Having allegedly lied to Liberian officials to get on the plane, Duncan was initially sent home from the hospital in Dallas (originally blamed on a computer glitch, though that story changed), even though he told a nurse he had come from Liberia. Then, once he was quarantined, family members were left in a contaminated apartment for days with Ebola-ridden bedding and linens, while state and federal authorities wrangled over permits needed to clean the apartment. Eventually, the family was moved to housing provided by members of a "local faith-based community." Last week, the CDC admitted that it wasn't ready because "We let our guard down a little bit."

Yes. These are problems that should have been thought of in advance — and maybe would have been, if the CDC actually had only one job. But, in fact, the CDC has multiple jobs, having involved itself in everything from playground safety to smoking in subsidized housing.

In 2014, the CDC received (together with the Public Health Service and related programs) $6.8 billion. But not all of that money went to infectious diseases. In addition to the CDC's supposed raison d'etre, there were programs for:

  • Chronic disease prevention (obesity, heart disease, etc): fiscal 2014 budget approximately $1 billion, or just under 15% of the total budget.
  • Birth defects: $132 million, or just about 2% of the total budget.
  • Environmental health (asthma, safe water, etc): $179 million, 2.6% of total.
  • Injury prevention (domestic violence, brain injury, etc): $150 million, 2.2% of total.
  • Public health services (statistics, surveillance, etc): $482 million, 7% of total.
  • Occupational safety (mostly research): $332 million, 5% of total.

And, of course, the various busy-body looks at playgrounds, smoking in subsidized housing, and the like. As The Federalist's David Harsanyi writes: "The CDC, an agency whose primary mission was to prevent malaria and then other dangerous communicable diseases, is now spending a lot of time, energy and money worrying about how much salt you put on your steaks, how close you stand to second-hand smoke and how often you do calisthenics."

These other tasks may or may not be important, but they're certainly a distraction from what's supposed to be the CDC's "one job" — protecting America from a deadly epidemic. And to the extent that the CDC's leadership has allowed itself to be distracted, it has paid less attention to the core mission.

In an era where new disease threats look to be growing, the CDC needs to drop the side jobs and focus on its real reason for existence. But, alas, the problem isn't just the CDC. It's everywhere.

It seems that as government has gotten bigger, and accumulated more and more of its own ancillary responsibilities, it has gotten worse at its primary tasks. It can supervise snacks at elementary schools, but not defend the borders; it can tax people to subsidize others' health-care plans but not build roads or bridges; and it can go after football team names but can't seem to deal with the Islamic State terror group.

Multitasking results in poorer performance for individuals. It also hurts the performance of government agencies, and of government itself. You have one job. Try doing it.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself.

Tajha Lanier provided research for this column.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/10/05/ebola-cdc-jobs-tasks-multitasking-thomas-duncan-column/16766801/


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
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Several good points in this article.


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10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

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04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

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Filed: Other Country: Russia
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A lot of people die from those chronic diseases. More people have died from chronic disease in the time it takes to write this sentence than have died from Ebola in recorded history.

Edited by Dakine10

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
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the CDC received (together with the Public Health Service and related programs)

The CDC and several other programs received 6.8 billion.

The PUBLIC HEALTH service was included, by name, in the 'several other programs.'

  • Environmental health (asthma, safe water, etc): $179 million, 2.6% of total.
  • Injury prevention (domestic violence, brain injury, etc): $150 million, 2.2% of total.
  • Public health services (statistics, surveillance, etc): $482 million, 7% of total.
  • Occupational safety (mostly research): $332 million, 5% of total.

16.8% of the budget went to PUBLIC HEALTH programs. And that's if you don't count asthma as a disease, which I believe it officially is.

  • Chronic disease prevention (obesity, heart disease, etc): fiscal 2014 budget approximately $1 billion, or just under 15% of the total budget.
  • Birth defects: $132 million, or just about 2% of the total budget.

17% went to chronic disease prevention. Note the word DISEASE, there (birth defects are arguably public health, but still...). Is the CDC supposed to ignore chronic diseases?

Um. What's the big bombshell here?

Edited by Not a Tailor

Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
2011: Realized we needed to evaluate our status as friends when we realized we were talking about raising children together.

2011/2012: Decided we were a couple sometime in, but no possibility of being together due to being same sex couple.

June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

June-September, 2013: Discussion about being together begins.

November 13, 2013: Meet in person to see if this could work. It's perfect. We plan to elope to Boston, MA.

March 13, 2014 Married!

May 9, 2014: Petition mailed to USCIS

May 12, 2014: NOA1.
October 27, 2014: NOA2. (5 months, 2 weeks, 1 day after NOA1)
October 31, 2014: USCIS ships file to NVC (five days after NOA2) Happy Halloween for us!

November 18, 2014: NVC receives our case (22 days after NOA2)

December 17, 2014: NVC generates case number (50 days after NOA2)

December 19, 2014: Receive AOS bill, DS-261. Submit DS-261 (52 days after NOA2)

December 20, 2014: Pay AOS Fee

January 7, 2015: Receive, pay IV Fee

January 10, 2015: Complete DS-260

January 11, 2015: Send AOS package and Civil Documents
March 23, 2015: Case Complete at NVC. (70 days from when they received docs to CC)

May 6, 2015: Interview at Montréal APPROVED!

May 11, 2015: Visa in hand! One year less one day from NOA1.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
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Fat lesbians. That's the big bombshell. You're apparently not schooled in how the outrage machine works.

But I thought the fat lesbians fell under the purview of the NIH, not the CDC?


Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
2011: Realized we needed to evaluate our status as friends when we realized we were talking about raising children together.

2011/2012: Decided we were a couple sometime in, but no possibility of being together due to being same sex couple.

June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

June-September, 2013: Discussion about being together begins.

November 13, 2013: Meet in person to see if this could work. It's perfect. We plan to elope to Boston, MA.

March 13, 2014 Married!

May 9, 2014: Petition mailed to USCIS

May 12, 2014: NOA1.
October 27, 2014: NOA2. (5 months, 2 weeks, 1 day after NOA1)
October 31, 2014: USCIS ships file to NVC (five days after NOA2) Happy Halloween for us!

November 18, 2014: NVC receives our case (22 days after NOA2)

December 17, 2014: NVC generates case number (50 days after NOA2)

December 19, 2014: Receive AOS bill, DS-261. Submit DS-261 (52 days after NOA2)

December 20, 2014: Pay AOS Fee

January 7, 2015: Receive, pay IV Fee

January 10, 2015: Complete DS-260

January 11, 2015: Send AOS package and Civil Documents
March 23, 2015: Case Complete at NVC. (70 days from when they received docs to CC)

May 6, 2015: Interview at Montréal APPROVED!

May 11, 2015: Visa in hand! One year less one day from NOA1.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
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Yeah but these pesky little details aren't helpful when working up proper outrage.

I suppose. Though, there are probably more lesbians struggling with obesity in the US than there ever will be ebola patients, so, as my wife pointed out, studying obesity in lesbians is probably a better use of taxpayer dollars...


Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
2011: Realized we needed to evaluate our status as friends when we realized we were talking about raising children together.

2011/2012: Decided we were a couple sometime in, but no possibility of being together due to being same sex couple.

June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

June-September, 2013: Discussion about being together begins.

November 13, 2013: Meet in person to see if this could work. It's perfect. We plan to elope to Boston, MA.

March 13, 2014 Married!

May 9, 2014: Petition mailed to USCIS

May 12, 2014: NOA1.
October 27, 2014: NOA2. (5 months, 2 weeks, 1 day after NOA1)
October 31, 2014: USCIS ships file to NVC (five days after NOA2) Happy Halloween for us!

November 18, 2014: NVC receives our case (22 days after NOA2)

December 17, 2014: NVC generates case number (50 days after NOA2)

December 19, 2014: Receive AOS bill, DS-261. Submit DS-261 (52 days after NOA2)

December 20, 2014: Pay AOS Fee

January 7, 2015: Receive, pay IV Fee

January 10, 2015: Complete DS-260

January 11, 2015: Send AOS package and Civil Documents
March 23, 2015: Case Complete at NVC. (70 days from when they received docs to CC)

May 6, 2015: Interview at Montréal APPROVED!

May 11, 2015: Visa in hand! One year less one day from NOA1.

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I suppose. Though, there are probably more lesbians struggling with obesity in the US than there ever will be ebola patients, so, as my wife pointed out, studying obesity in lesbians is probably a better use of taxpayer dollars...

You mean that there are public health and disease issues other than ebola out there that require attention? That can't be right.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

You mean that there are public health and disease issues other than ebola out there that require attention? That can't be right.

Well, it seems like ebola isn't the only virus in existence. It seems like maybe rabies might be a bigger deal.


Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
2011: Realized we needed to evaluate our status as friends when we realized we were talking about raising children together.

2011/2012: Decided we were a couple sometime in, but no possibility of being together due to being same sex couple.

June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

June-September, 2013: Discussion about being together begins.

November 13, 2013: Meet in person to see if this could work. It's perfect. We plan to elope to Boston, MA.

March 13, 2014 Married!

May 9, 2014: Petition mailed to USCIS

May 12, 2014: NOA1.
October 27, 2014: NOA2. (5 months, 2 weeks, 1 day after NOA1)
October 31, 2014: USCIS ships file to NVC (five days after NOA2) Happy Halloween for us!

November 18, 2014: NVC receives our case (22 days after NOA2)

December 17, 2014: NVC generates case number (50 days after NOA2)

December 19, 2014: Receive AOS bill, DS-261. Submit DS-261 (52 days after NOA2)

December 20, 2014: Pay AOS Fee

January 7, 2015: Receive, pay IV Fee

January 10, 2015: Complete DS-260

January 11, 2015: Send AOS package and Civil Documents
March 23, 2015: Case Complete at NVC. (70 days from when they received docs to CC)

May 6, 2015: Interview at Montréal APPROVED!

May 11, 2015: Visa in hand! One year less one day from NOA1.

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