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posted by martyb on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'm-shocked,-shocked-I-say dept.

U.S. Government Proposed Manipulating CDC Guidelines to Avoid Mask Shortages: Whistleblower:

The U.S. government proposed manipulating information about whether N95 masks worked to fight the spread of coronavirus in the general public, according to Dr. Richard Bright, a whistleblower who testified publicly for the first time on Thursday. The deception was an effort to avoid shortages and keep masks available for U.S. health care workers, but likely had a ripple effect throughout the country, leaving many people to believe that all masks are useless or even harmful during a pandemic. Bright's testimony is the first confirmation from a high-ranking official that the U.S. government actively sought to distribute incorrect information about N95 masks during the covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bright told the House Subcommittee on Health on Thursday about his attempts to warn others in the Department of Health and Human Services about the pending shortage of masks in January and early February, just as the novel coronavirus was spreading outside of China. Bright said that officials at the meeting simply said they would change the recommendations put out by the CDC to discourage the general public from buying masks.

"I indicated we know there will be a critical shortage of these supplies. We need to do something to ramp up production," Dr. Bright, the former top vaccine specialist at HHS, said of a meeting with HHS officials on February 7.

"They indicated if we notice there is a shortage, that we will simply change the CDC guidelines to better inform people who should not be wearing those masks, so that would save those masks for our health care workers," Dr. Bright testified.

"My response was, 'I can not believe you can sit and say that with a straight face'," Bright said. "That was absurd."

[...] Dr. Bright's entire 6-hour testimony is available on YouTube, and it's quite damning.


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:36PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @12:36PM (#995323)

    The government wants to create two sets of information. One set for the poor and one set for the elite.

    Just like we have two sets of laws. One set for the poor and one for the elite. The poor is subject tot he PDT rule. Not the elite. The poor can't invest using peerstreet. The rich can.

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday May 17 2020, @01:42PM (2 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday May 17 2020, @01:42PM (#995355)

    It's not that the poor are targeted, it's that they (our elected leadership) have got a mindset that protection of "key people" will benefit everyone more. Granted, the poor are rarely "key people," the whole concept of eliteism is generally misguided, and the idea that you can keep a secret in today's world without it coming back to do much more damage in the long run than being forthright from the start would have done is... delusional romance from days long gone.

    As compared to WWII when secret keeping was key strategy, and successful leaks took months to spread from unintended source to detrimental receiver, information today spreads globally in milliseconds. The "R value" of the average valuable secret has gone from something far less than 1.0 to ridiculous high multiples of 10. Anyone with this kind of information and the tiniest impulse to do so can spread it anonymously and virtually instantly globally. There are still functional strategies of drowning out secrets with harmless and more publicly engaging noise, but anything of real substance and broad appeal is never going to be drowned out.

    --
    John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @02:24PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @02:24PM (#995366)

      Lets say your two sets of information theory is correct.
      Maybe rich and poor, but certainly healthcare workers and general public.

      As bad as that is, it is minor compared to how it shows the ability of the government to think through the consequences of their actions.

      There are two basic operational problems with the government doing this.

      The first is that it won't work. If the general public does not take measures to keep the virus at bay, the healthcare workers will be overwhelmed and all the masks they dream of will not help. The best chance to help the health care workers is a general public doing reasonable things. This requires informing them what needs to be done and letting them help.

      The second is that the CDC being caught lying to the public undermines the ability of the government to convince the public to do something reasonable.

      Definitely a sad state of affairs in the Whitehouse in terms of an intelligent, proactice response.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @04:17PM (#995396)

        I would bet my house that the CDC employees who came up with the misleading mask info hate Trump. The surveillance state was out to get him as we've now had confirmation of, and I suspect every other ossified layer of the government is out there to do, doing the #resistance thing. Whether #resistance means trying to start a nuclear war with Russia or propping up Pelosi's friends in the 0.01% or killing fellow citizens, it's all worth it to them if Trump loses the next election.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17 2020, @06:32PM (#995426)
    The real elite rich can afford their own health care teams with enough N95 masks. They can pay high prices for the masks, ventilators etc and get them. They don't have to expose themselves too. Other people can do the purchasing, cooking, safety systems and procedures so that they can live in luxurious comfort, safe and shielded from covid-19.

    Not so for the normal folk and poor:

    In the early stages before production ramped up there definitely weren't enough N95 masks. There might still be a shortage of N95 masks in some areas.

    There are significantly fewer doctors and nurses compared to the normal people. So I'd say it's a lesser evil to have fewer "normal people" wearing N95 masks in order for doctors and nurses serving the normal people to have more of them.

    If the normal people mostly stay at home, their risk is lower - just once a week when they go out to shop or something. Whereas many doctors and nurses will need the masks to deal with covid-19 patients, daily for hours.

    There are of course other higher risk people like supermarket cashiers etc. N95 masks and other PPE (face shields) might be helpful for them too. They also have added risks from handling cash.

    If your local hospital gets crippled or shutdown because too many healthcare workers get covid-19, it's not a problem for the elite rich. But it might be a problem for normal people who might need that hospital.

    The world will remain unfair. But you really think telling normal people not to use N95 masks so that doctors and nurses can have more makes it more unfair?