Shutdown created CDC blind spot

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Last night's Congressional deal means furloughed federal workers (and the National Zoo's Pandacam) are back in business, but a Wired interview with Centers for Disease Control's director Thomas Frieden shows that that the unknown impact of the shutdown will set the agency back far more than the 16 days workers were forced to stay home.

Among the “easy” access details Frieden shared:

  • Every day of the shutdown translates into 1 million emails CDC employees could not read.
  • Idled clinical trials will have to go longer, meaning more money in the long term.
  • Missed training will cost professionals their licenses and the CDC “may have to pay them to stay on another month.”

Frieden tells Wired the CDC is usually watching 25 to 30 illness clusters, none of which happened during the shutdown, but even that is minimized in terms of the agency's huge to-do list. “The broader question is, what are the outbreaks that we don't know about?” he asked.

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