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Join us at 12 ET Today for a “People’s Meeting” to Protest Dangerous Potential US CDC Guidelines on Infection Control in Healthcare Settings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The People’s CDC Hosts “People’s Meeting” to Protest Dangerous Potential CDC Guidelines on Infection Control in Healthcare Settings
WHAT: Virtual protest against proposed guidelines from CDC advisory board (HICPAC) that would severely weaken infection control standards for healthcare
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 2 at 12 Noon ET
WHERE: Virtual webinar : https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUvceGhrz0qGtCwRW0cgWZlyq6IuPkZ7OR0
WHO: Patients, healthcare workers, public health professionals, and other community members
While a US CDC advisory board, with little public input, conducts a crucial policy-making meeting on Nov. 2, the People’s CDC is hosting a virtual ‘People’s Meeting’ to warn that proposed policy changes threaten to undermine long-standing infection control standards for healthcare, and to object to the public being shut out.
For months, the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) has, largely behind closed doors, been moving to weaken CDC guidelines, rather than strengthening them in light of lessons from the continuing COVID disaster.
Deborah Socolar, MPH, a People’s CDC volunteer, explains: “CDC’s HICPAC aims to vote on dangerous new recommendations that would greatly increase the likelihood that patients and healthcare workers will get infected in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and all medical care settings. If these policies are adopted, CDC will be letting healthcare companies skimp on safety in order to boost short-term profits at the expense of everyone’s health.”
Zoey Thill, MD, MPP, MPH, a primary care doctor and People’s CDC volunteer, critiques HICPAC’s process: “We’ve demanded they open the meeting to public feedback, occupational health and safety professionals, aerosol experts, and disability and patient groups. Instead, they’re streaming the closed meeting on youtube.”
Jennifer Ritz Sullivan, a disability advocate and member of Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity, recounts, “I lost my mom to COVID in December 2020 because a member of her household didn’t mask. I became further disabled by Long COVID this spring after contracting COVID through one-way masking. Now, I am forced to risk infection to meet my healthcare needs, which have increased with Long COVID since my healthcare facility dropped masking. What happened to ‘do no harm’?”
Pantea Javidan, JD, PhD, a Stanford University faculty member who researches inequities of pandemic policy, points out, “Nosocomial COVID [that is, COVID acquired while hospitalized] has proven deadlier and more dangerous than community-acquired COVID, with a 10 percent mortality rate, according to the most recent and reliable reports.” She went on to urge HICPAC members to “center the most vulnerable, and understand the unequal and unfair power dynamics of an oral cancer patient (for example) having to repeatedly request healthcare personnel to wear an N95 respirator mask every time they enter the room.”
Chloe Humbert of Scranton, Pennsylvania puts it simply: “I don’t always need to visit the hospital. But when I do, I don’t want to get COVID there.” (She is one of the few people selected by CDC to speak in the HICPAC meeting’s brief public comment period.)
The People’s Register of public comments on the proposed changes in healthcare infection control guidelines can be accessed at https://peoplescdc.org/peoples-register/. The People’s CDC created that website because the US CDC, though soliciting public comments, opted to post them online only long after HICPAC’s August 2023 meeting (rather than using the Federal Register, where they would be quickly visible to the public).
The People’s CDC is a coalition of public health practitioners, scientists, healthcare workers, educators, advocates and people from all walks of life working to reduce the harmful impacts of COVID-19.