CDC Foundation Likely To Cut Over 3,000 Pandemic Staff
(ConservativeHub.com) – When the novel coronavirus finally made it to US shores, a mere 28% of local health departments had a statistician or epidemiologist, according to a 2020 Kaiser Health News (KHN) Report. State and local departments, already running at skeletal levels, faced a need to respond to the pandemic without adequate resources. The CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit supporting the CDC’s efforts, responded by providing contracts for public health workers during the worst of the pandemic. Now, nearly three years later, many of those contracts are running out, and the group will likely cut around 3,200 jobs.
On Monday, November 14, KHN shared comments from CDC Foundation spokesperson Pierce Nelson, who told the outlet that the organization is running out of the $289 million COVID-relief budget that it used to pay state and local health department workers. Due to this fund shortage, he believes the group will only keep 800 employees at their posts.
Public health purge at the CDC sees 3,000 staff who were hired during the Covid crisis laid off https://t.co/t7DyU4dAo6
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) November 14, 2022
This news comes at a time when COVID cases and deaths are at relatively low levels compared to early 2022. Across the US, most restrictions have been lifted. Still, some health officials have been hesitant to declare the pandemic over in recent months, FactCheck reports.
While everyone knew these jobs would end eventually, experts wonder if these thinly-stretched public health departments will remain viable, even after COVID. According to an analysis contributed to by KHN, the average state public health department’s per capita spending has dropped 16% since 2010, and local public per capita spending has fallen 18% in that time. About 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since 2008, a little under half the number at least one study suggests departments need to address Americans’ wellness.
According to KHN, Cayenne Levorse, a CDC Foundation leader, expressed her frustration at the funding and job losses. “Those jobs are just sitting there, all that work left unfinished,” she said of projects, including tracking cancer clusters, addressing environmental health issues, and resolving rural provider disparities.
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