As the Covid-19 pandemic has put huge stresses on medical systems around the globe, the strains have taken their toll: The credibility and authority — of federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and elite professional journals like the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine — have taken big hits in recent weeks.
In times of huge uncertainty and high anxiety, the public should be able to turn to these respected pillars of the health care establishment for steady, trustworthy, and independent information and execution of crucial policies that benefit the public.
The agencies are not just a pile of letters. Their work, based in rigorous medical science and the best available evidence, is supposed to reject damaging and dangerous rumor, hunch, myth, mis- and dis-information. They help to set standards for care, especially in crises, and they are charged with safeguarding us from disease, dangerous drugs and vaccines, and in protecting the old, sick, and injured in institutional care.