The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed more emphasis on a “zombie preparedness” campaign than preparations for Ebola despite a $6.6 billion yearly budget.
A simple Google search on the CDC web site reveals more search results for “zombie preparedness” (253 results) than “Ebola preparedness” (178 results), highlighting the misplaced priorities of the health agency which admitted Tuesday it did little to contain Ebola in Dallas, Texas.
The CDC’s “zombie preparedness” documents stem from a public awareness campaign the agency launched in 2011 to take advantage of the popularity of the TV show The Walking Dead.
“It was actually a great way to get people to think about, you know if you’re prepared for a zombie, you’re really prepared for a hurricane, a tornado, an infectious disease, just about anything,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told NPR in 2012.
The then-Director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Dr. Ali Khan, echoed a similar statement.
“If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack,” he wrote.
But it would appear this “zombie preparedness” campaign did little to prepare U.S. health workers for the Ebola pandemic in Dallas, Texas, now that a second nurse has the disease after treating the late Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.
Additionally, the CDC only beefed up information regarding Ebola on its web site around Aug. 19, weeks after an American who contracted Ebola in Liberia died after flying through an international airport, underscoring the agency’s tendency to react poorly to pandemics instead of preventing them from occurring.
And the CDC’s poor response to U.S. Ebola cases occurred despite the agency’s $6.6 billion budget.
“With so much money being thrown at emergency preparedness, one would think these agencies would have a plan to deal with something like a pandemic outbreak, but they don’t,” Robert Richardson of Off-Grid Survival wrote. “With [the first] case of Ebola showing up in the U.S., we have witnessed the complete breakdown of the entire federal preparedness system.”
“From DHS and Border Patrol failing to shut down air travel during an active epidemic in West Africa, to the CDC’s complete failure to manage a single case of Ebola, no one in government seems to have an actual plan in place to deal with this type of emergency.”
“In fact, day after day the CDC comes out during their daily press conference basically admitting they’re making it up as they go,” he added.