A version of this post first ran in Ms. Magazine on October 28, 2020. It has been adapted slightly for Bill of Health.
By Aziza Ahmed
In recent months, public health guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has become a site of political reckoning.
The agency has taken an enormous amount of heat from a range of institutions, including the executive and the public, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The former has sought to intervene in public health guidance to ensure that the CDC presents the President and administration’s response to COVID-19 in a positive light. The latter consists of opposed factions that demand more rigorous guidance, or, its opposite, less stringent advice.
Importantly, these tensions have revealed how communities experience the pandemic differently. CDC guidance has produced divergent consequences, largely depending on demographics. These differences have been particularly pronounced along racial lines.