The CDC’s continued screwups make it very hard to trust

A new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that you’re highly unlikely to contract the coronavirus by touching contaminated surfaces. But will that turn out to be yet another mistake?

Because it’s become hard to trust the CDC on anything, given its repeated screw-ups amid the pandemic.

Early in February, the agency sent out coronavirus tests across the country — but labs soon found they were unreliable. The CDC had to reverse course and ask labs to send all samples to its Atlanta HQ for testing, setting the nation back days at a crucial time.

And it wasn’t until March 3 that the CDC lifted its final restrictions to allow tests beyond its own flawed ones.

The missteps kept up. For months, the CDC told Americans that only those who know they’re sick should wear face masks to prevent the virus’ spread. On April 3, it flipped, saying everyone should wear a mask if social distancing isn’t possible.

Fresh reason to doubt the agency’s pronouncements came this week, with another unbelievable bungle: It turned out that CDC data — relied on by states for reopening decisions — don’t measure what everyone thought. It’s been mixing the results of viral tests, which show who has a current case of COVID, and antibody tests, which show who has ever had the bug. The tests are administered for different reasons and provide different info.

Epidemiologists were flabbergasted that the CDC was combining the two results in its tracking — especially since the agency’s COVID Data Tracker website had claimed as recently as May 18 that the numbers didn’t include the results of antibody tests.

Americans are sacrificing a lot based on CDC guidance. It needs to get its act together so the public can trust its edicts.

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