The CDC’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) met on August 22 for a continued discussion of the proposed watered-down, anti-scientific new infection control guidelines that would reduce infection control standards particularly surrounding aerosol transmission and the spread of multi-drug resistant organisms. 

HICPAC advises the CDC on infection control policies and is made up largely of healthcare upper management, infectious disease clinicians and senior level personnel from federal agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The recommendations of HICPAC are not subject to any public oversight. 

The recent meeting was attended by members of the public and medical community who are fighting against the anti-scientific draft guidelines which include claims that masking is essentially ineffective or even harmful to individuals and the healthcare system. These claims were first presented during a discussion of the revised guidelines at a June 2023 HICPAC meeting. The “evidence” used to back these claims was made up of cherry-picked data from research studies that are widely recognized as flawed.

Amidst this backlash, the August 22 meeting did not focus on issues of COVID-19, masking and respiratory precautions. Instead, the committee attempted to steer into safe waters through a discussion of contact precautions and other standard precautions in healthcare. The issues of COVID-19 and respiratory isolation were only discussed by the public during the comment section. 

The guideline revision is not an arbitrary decision or a misguided mistake, but a conscious and criminal maneuver designed to ensure that another surge or another pandemic will not cause any slowdowns in the economy. Healthcare facilities represent the high-water mark in infection control. If mitigation measures are abandoned in that context, it provides the argument for jettisoning safety measures within any workplace or social setting.

Rising waste water levels and hospitalization rates indicate that a summer surge has been under way for several months without any warning or concerns raised by the Biden administration or public health organizations like the CDC.

The HICPAC guidelines are the latest in a trend of unscientific decisions prompted by governments around the world to stop virtually all surveillance and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Biden administration ended their COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), disbanding the White House COVID Response Team. The CDC then ended all COVID-19 case reporting and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky—who championed pro-corporate and anti-public-health policies throughout her tenure—resigned. Walensky was then replaced by Mandy Cohen, a staunch supporter of lifting mask mandates and school reopenings. 

Patient Mike Camilleri works with physical therapist Beth Hughes in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 1, 2023. After contracting COVID-19 Camilleri was left with dangerous blood pressure spikes, a heartbeat that raced with slight exertion, and episodes of intense chest pain. [AP Photo/Angie Wang]

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