Harris said Redfield understood her concerns and is aware of the restrictions on the CDC, which were largely sidelined by the Trump administration during the pandemic.
Mecklenburg has strengthened its educational reach in recent weeks as more and more Latinos test positive tests and build toolkits for messaging to Latino and black populations. They’ve also increased their social media presence as younger Latinos get infected.
But district officials stressed that even if they try to issue guidelines, the contradictory comments from the president and other federal officials have weakened their local response.
“There are multiple options for understanding the situation based on who you listen to and people will listen to who they want to listen to,” said Harris. “We come across that with contact tracking. We come across that with education; it presents challenges for us to actually send that scientifically substantiated message home. ”
North Carolina reached at least 2,000 new cases on Friday, and the number of hospital admissions has remained above 1,000 since July 9 42 percent of state cases, but only 10 percent of the population.
Debacle in Atlanta
Worst case scenario, the CDC’s tendency to skydive in communities has puzzled and frightened residents.
In other cases, the CDC teams stay so short that they don’t learn much about a community – or even divert attention from local pandemic response efforts, said Lori Freeman, the CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. And to be effective, she said, they can’t just come and go. There should be cooperation and follow-up with the most affected communities.
When the CDC lands without local cooperation, it’s even worse, Freeman said. “It reminds you of the old TV shows where people show up at the door saying, ‘We’re at the FBI and we’re here to help,’ and it’s never going well.”
That lack of cooperation was one of the reasons that the antibody study in Georgia was booming, creating mistrust rather than partnerships and progress.
The CDC experts arrived on April 28 for their weeklong mission in DeKalb and Fulton counties, just one day after final approval for their antibody project, which would help track how the virus spread disproportionately among black residents. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, director of the DeKalb County Board of Health, said her office was barely aware and had to struggle to reach the community the federal team was unable to reach.
“We really tried to disclose that this was by no means a police event and that it had no malicious intent,” she said.
Still, many residents were upset when CDC officials knocked on their door.
“People asked me,” What should I do when they come to my door and ask for my blood. Do I give it to them? Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project, said. “It frightened many seniors and many African American leaders and members of the community.”
A month later, the CDC apologized at a virtual city hall hosted by the Ufot organization.
“We had clearly failed to do the right thing for the community before this happened,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, Deputy Director of Global Health Affairs for the CDC’s Influenza Department.
“This was a critical mistake,” he said. “And we own it and we regret it and we learned from it.”
In the CDC’s analysis of the project released Tuesday, team members said they documented the racial inequalities they were looking for, but poor reach undermined their efforts.
“Active community engagement from the design of the survey is an important part of gaining trust and potentially improving participation,” they wrote.
Even as the CDC works to control infections among black and Latino communities, indigenous communities say they still feel invisible.
The CDC website says the staff have committed to supporting Navajo Nation, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, and two other tribes. It held one of its first listening sessions with the National Indian Health Board this month.
But in a place like Los Angeles, where the Native American and Alaskan indigenous people are scattered around the city, there is no data collection on cases and hospitalizations.
Chrissie Castro, president of the Native American Indian Commission for the city and province of Los Angeles, said health workers have mistakenly identified several indigenous community members as Hispanic.
“It’s as if we literally completely erase our experiences,” said Castro. “Our story doesn’t come out. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever know the real impact in our community. ”