It’s time to put America’s health first


Under President Barack Obama, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent money and staff to distant parts of the globe while neglecting life-threatening health crises under our noses. Dr. Thomas Frieden, who headed the CDC then, is joining a chorus bashing President Trump’s decision to end funding for CDC overseas projects in dozens of countries, charging the cuts will “endanger lives in our country.”

Sounds scary, but the facts prove otherwise.

Trump will spend the money here instead, where it’s urgently needed. As Trump searches for a new CDC director, it’s time to put America first — something the agency has neglected.

On its core mission — protecting American health — the CDC has fallen down on the job. It dithered while opioid overdose deaths topped 42,000 and obesity deaths soared to 186,000 yearly, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Obesity and opioid overdosing are largely to blame for the sudden drop in American life expectancy two years in a row.

Year after year, the CDC also pays lip service to curbing hospital infections, but the most common infection — C. diff — now kills 29,000 Americans each year. No progress there.

Add flu deaths to the toll from the agency’s poor performance. Emergency rooms are overwhelmed during the current outbreak, and 53 children have died. The vaccine is less effective than in some past years, but the bigger problem is how few Americans get vaccinated — just 46 percent.

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