The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have effectively given up on trying to track the coronavirus, admitting they hadn’t done so months ago, according to documents obtained by Forbes.
“Most jurisdictions have been forced to abandon surveillance because the number of monitorees exceeds capacity… As a result, critical data allowing CDC to inform and guide the public health response to Covid-19 is failing. not available, ”agency officials wrote in a June contract with a third party to build a new disease surveillance system.
When CDC signed the deal with Miter, a research and development company to which the government operates many of its most sci-fi projects, officials claimed their extensive testing and data collection was responsible for the strong increased number of cases in parts of the United States.
And for the several weeks leading up to the Miter deal, the CDC was still proportioning that its data was the scaffolding upon which President Trump’s plan to reopen was built.
But the wording of the Miter contract suggests that one of the world’s most advanced disease surveillance systems had failed long before its staff – the country’s top scientists – admitted it.
The CDC admitted in its deal with private company Miter in June that its disease monitors were unable to keep up with the spread of COVID-19 – but publicly sang a different tune
In the first few months of the year, Americans anxiously awaited the CDC’s word, wondering when the agency would announce the arrival of the coronavirus in their country, state, county or city.
It didn’t take long for the rumor to surpass the official tally, or for the outbreak itself to surpass experts’ ability to identify every infection, its source, and the next possible victim.
In late February, the CDC confirmed that the transmissions were occurring via “community spread,” meaning the coronavirus was infecting people who had not left the country or who came into contact with friends, family or relatives. colleagues who had done so.
Still, the agency had shipped its first batches of coronavirus tests and at the very least planned to count the number of cases and deaths in U.S. states through its flu surveillance system.
But it quickly became clear that the years-old system was not keeping up with the pandemic as well as the algorithms employed by high-tech and high-tech institutions like Johns Hopkins University.
So officials contacted Miter, which was hardly new to taking large orders from the US government.
Even though CDC officials told Miter they couldn’t keep up with COVID-19, the agency continued to say that President Trump’s plan to reopen was informed by his data (however incomplete)
The FBI and other federal agencies turn to Miter when they need to find a way to hack smartwatches or scrape social media fingerprints, according to previous reports from Forbes.
Now health officials wanted the research and development farm to do what the CDC failed to create a new system that could keep up with the new virus.
For $ 16.5 million, Miter built SARA Alert, as part of a project called internally “Building sustainable national capacity to contain Covid-19”.
Instead of the CDC’s process of collecting, reviewing and reconciling the data collected in each state, the goal of SARA Alert was to create a new, secure, national way to monitor each case of coronavirus and how it might spread to d ‘other.
According to Forbes, the day after the deal was signed, President Trump told the United States that the virus was “going away.”
The virus was not, but maybe the CDC’s data tracking capabilities already were.
In an attempt to strengthen its tracking capabilities, the CDC has sent more than $ 10 billion to U.S. states, Director Dr Robert Redfield said at a June 25 press briefing.
Yet states are struggling to follow up.
Florida was forced to register thousands more cases in a single day last month after Quest Diagnostics released back-dated test results.
Periodic arrears have led to similar peaks in many states. Epidemics quickly overtook universities, forcing them to close weeks after they reopened.
Today, SARA Alert is in beta testing in a handful of states, Forbes reported: Arkansas, Maine, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
The automated system sends watch texts, emails or calls to those being monitored for COVID-19, as well as to people in their households and contacts of potential COVID-19 cases, which will hopefully be makes the process more consistent.
“This system makes it easier for us to identify secondary cases, really establishing better management of social clusters, which has been a challenge,” Dr Mike Cima, chief epidemiologist, Department of Health, told Forbes. from Arkansas.
SARA Alert may be a bright spot after the CDC struggled to track the data on its own, and then control of the information was snatched from the agency by the NIH, who moved it to a flatbed. – more secret form.
It also failed almost immediately and sparked an uproar from the public, who were suddenly denied visibility into even imperfect data.