Our team has a past.
A past that included the provision of high grade medical intelligence to CDC and training provided to their Global Disease Detection Operations Center (GDDOC) in our discipline of indication and warning analysis for infectious disease events. CDC never paid for the service. At the time, it was an "above and beyond" call of duty to do the right thing for the mission and our country. We were proud to do it.
We were invited to a meeting to discuss implementation of HSPD-21. Larry Brilliant was named the chair. We pointed out our concerns regarding operational validity of Flu Trends. We were not invited back to the discussion. These concerns were ignored. It took several more years before the facts were forced, in the form of a manuscript in Science debunking the claimed validity of Google Flu Trends.
We provided a briefing to HHS/ASPR about 4 months before the emergence of H1N1 influenza, advising them of our capabalities. The head of ASPR advised us that our country's public health would not know what to do with the information.
We provided a briefing to DHS' National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC), a Center that I helped found as the first Chief of Analytic Operations. They begged us not to apply political pressure, then promised to "do something with us", then radio silence. This was on the same trip to see ASPR.
Then, we gave CDC free access to improved medical intelligence. And then phoned their Emergency Operations Center with the report of an unusual signature pattern being tracked in Mexico... later known as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Again, no payment for the service, and a claim by the Director's PIO to the media they "never heard" of us. Besser would later answer uncomfortable public questions regarding why warning of the pandemic was weeks delayed to the US after the media discovered they indeed "had" heard of us. Meanwhile, HealthMap claimed to be the "first" to report the pandemic.
Later, we collaborated with CDC on the ground in post-quake Haiti, openly sharing information with them. They advised their Haitian contractors not to share information in return. CDC refused to address the attribution question during the Haiti cholera disaster. We discovered the connection to the UN Mirebalais base and provided the tip-off to the international media. We were threatened with a lawsuit by CDC for saying we were collaborating... yet we were.
And now we have offered, multiple times, our expert assistance to CDC in the context of the current Ebola disaster. Assistance that includes not only cutting edge medical intelligence for Africa, but full scale surveillance here in the US. They refused again. Several LinkedIn networks sponsored by CDC took steps to deliberately block our posts of information, which included critical indicators we were tracking.
And DHS NBIC, after receiving a comprehensive response from us in the context of a Request For Information, instead opted to issue a Sole Source contract to HealthMap... and now we see NBIC outputs on the open net revealing copy / pasted open source media as "analysis". I see precious little in these reports that any enterprising citizen could not have simply found through Google. Politics has clearly interfered with the original mission envisioned for NBIC.
And two days ago, we attempted to share the poll results of America's physicians with ProMED but were advised the editor of ProMED, Larry Madoff, considered the information to be "too controversial". One observes that ProMED's source of funding has compromised their credibility. And has for years now. We consider their action to fall under the category of "information suppression".
Time for this country to consider better leadership.
Current cases in point:
- Multiple assessments pointing out the gross disconnect between public health preparedness and actual front line medical preparedness here in the US.
- Multiple assessments indicating a need to re-evaluate exposure via the air traffic grid and Visa granting process in light of the above bullet. We have, for weeks now, specifically noted the increasing exposure of the US to the uncontained, escalating disaster in West Africa.
- One CDC officer, desparate to receive our information, offered to pay for it out of his own personal pocket.
One might say that CDC and DHS are stubborn to a ridiculous fault.
And now we have a major US metropolitan hospital grossly compromised, with now two healthcare workers who are infected. Exposures that were unnecessary and preventable, and admissions after the fact that CDC could have done more. Exposures that occured after said hospital was already sensitized and scolded nationally for sending the index case back out into the community. It remains a miracle that, at Day 20, none of the original contact list are symptomatic... a clear point of evidence this virus is not efficiently transmitted nor airborne. ... If proper protocols are observed. A major metropolitan hospital's employees are shaken, the ability to ingest patients at the facility has been challenged, and Dallas' medical infrastructure is threatened as we sail into influenza season with type A/H3N2.
Politicalization of these issues has not helped us identify solutions to the rapidly expanding problem in West Africa. This author began his life's work under the Clinton Administration and later worked with the Bush Administration. It should be obvious to any sane world citizen that "political health" should not be engaged, but rather "public health". As discussed above, there is much shenanigans, information suppression, and politics that are interfering with this country's ability to execute the capabilities needed to protect us.
Meanwhile, 76 healthcare workers in Dallas await their fates.