We’ll pay in lives for the testing debacle

“Between early February and mid-March, the U.S. lost six crucial weeks because regulators stuck to rigid regulations instead of adapting as new information came in. While these rules might have made sense in normal times, they proved disastrous in a pandemic.” [Alec Stapp/The Dispatch] When it’s all over, the CDC/FDA testing fiasco is going to go down in the history books, and not in a good way. “We only need to take a look at South Korea to see how we could have been in a better position if we’d let private industry play a larger role in testing.” [Jeffrey Singer/NBC News] “People have talked about ‘drug lag’ but here is a highly quantifiable measure of ‘diagnostic lag’: the excess deaths and hospitalizations the US will suffer thanks to CDRH [the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health] blocking a standard test. The sheer cost of what the FDA has done is now universally perceptible, undeniable.” [Balaji Srinivasan; earlier here, and this at Cato]

6 Comments

  • And that’s not even mentioning the Heisman that Dr. Chu got when she requested permission to test nasal swaps for Coronavirus.

    What is really hard to take–watching Dr. Hahn and Dr. Fauci up there pooh-poohing anti-malarials. To listen to them, it’s just Trump peddling nonsense—but the science backs up Trump’s optimism, as does the experience in other countries. There is little doubt that hydroxychloroquine is efficacious in treating this pandemic–how efficacious will be seen, but Teva is manufacturing millions of doses of the stuff. They are pretty smart–they’re not making snake oil.

    Maybe Fauci and Hahn should apologize.

    By the way, has FDA approved the Johns Hopkins convalescent sera clinical trial? It’s been pending for a while.

    • They’ll get around to it eventually.

      Bob

    • If we’re going to drag in the topic of Dr. Fauci and antimalarials, which has no very clear relationship with the subject matter of this post, then we can’t stop at apologies owed *to* Trump but would have to go on to the topic of apologies owed *by* him. And then we’d never be done with it.

      Or we could just restrain ourselves to the original subject matter of the post.

      • The apologies wouldn’t be to Trump. It’s not about Trump. It’s to the American people. I couldn’t care less about Trump’s feelings. I was not clear about that. My apologies.

        Fauci’s and Hahn’s cold water pour on hydroxychloroquine really is curious. It’s not like the anti-viral mechanisms were not well known–basically, the drug increases alkalinity inside the cells, and that inhibits the virus from penetrating the cell wall, and it inhibits the cell’s machinery (the endoplasmic reticulum) from being hijacked to replicate the viruses. What is going on here is that the FDA hasn’t signed off on it, so damn all the other experiences of others and the existing science. That’s a problem. Fauci and Hahn should be 100% accurate–explain that there is evidence that the treatment works, but that more trials are needed to refine protocols etc. so that we get the best bang for the buck.

        Like I said, Teva is manufacturing tens of millions of doses to give to the USA. They aren’t handing us a bunch of snake oil.

        My sister is an ER nurse–they are using the meds. And anecdotally, they ARE working.

  • and yet, my Facebook feed is full of posts, mostly from friends half my age, claiming things would be better if only we nationalized everything and let the CDC run things.

    They seem to disregard the CDC testing fiasco, its inability to make tests (setting aside that their first test didn’t work) in quantity, and their blocking of “competition” from private industry in the same way that certain die-hard supporters of our PotUS exclaim “fake news” and move on. Nor are they willing to consider the shortage of hospitals might be result of rules allowing existing hospitals to block competition by way of “certificate of need” laws. or that the Coronavirus will likely hit rural areas particularly hard, as the PPACA has helped further concentrate both doctors and critical care facilities into urban areas.

    Even in the current crisis (perhaps especially in a crisis), facts don’t seem to matter unless they can be used to advance one’s pre-existing policy positions.

    • What else did you expect? How many times have we seen Government bureaucrats cover themselves by following the rules exactly? Nobody sticks their neck out, nobody takes initiative so nobody can be held accountable if the desired outcome isn’t reached.

      I’m not even going to go into the incompetence of our Government agencies on all levels due to their being no accountability.

      Then we have the public sector union employees.

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