Polling News

America Speaks on Distrust of CDC

March 09, 2023

While many public opinion surveys have documented a steep decline in America’s trust in the Centers for Disease Control, HealthAffairs is out with a new Harvard-led survey that explains what’s driving that lack of trust.  

Why It Matters: The CDC’s courses of action during the pandemic have led to growing distrust in the institution. HealthAffairs suggest some key factors driving that feeling.

As of Sept. 2022, 32% of Americans believed the CDC was doing a poor job while only 14% believed the agency was doing an excellent job. Five years ago, those who believed CDC was doing a poor job was just 6%. The tipping point that drove public sentiment against the CDC came during pandemic lockdowns and the federal agency’s frequently constantly changing, often contradictory guidelines. 

By The Numbers:

  • 74% of those who report low trust in the CDC cited politics having too much influence on the recommendations and policies, while 73% cite too many conflicting recommendations.
  • 60% say they believe the private sector had too much influence on CDC decisions and policies.
  • 51% cited inconsistency in following scientifically valid research and 44% believe that the agency’s restrictive recommendations went too far.

The Politics of Epidemiology: In the pandemic’s early phase, there were many unknowns surrounding COVID. As time progressed, thinking at the policy-making level in many states evolved as well, but the Biden CDC chose not to. As states began returning to normality, the CDC chose not to observe and study, but rather to attack and bully Republican governors. Americans watched.

The Bottom Line: With Democrat occupying the White House and majorities in Congress starting in 2021, the CDC understood it would come under heavy fire for spoiling the political moment the pandemic created. The CDC chose to toe the political line on the virus, actively work to suppress independent research and dissenting opinions on COVID and make decisions that served the medical industry and government officials far more than the people. We’re likely to see a further decline in public confidence in the CDC as 2024 candidates discuss the agency’s effect on American families, school children, workers, businesses, and communities.

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