The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reliance on outdated techniques to acquire and analyze information on international air vacationers continues to hamper its means to respond quickly to disease threats, in accordance to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
The report stated that limitations in how the C.D.C. collects and manages contact info for air vacationers makes it troublesome to conduct contact tracing and monitor public well being dangers. The company, the G.A.O. discovered, “is unable to quickly and accurately identify the number of passengers exposed to a specific infected passenger on a flight.”
Two and a half years after the coronavirus started to unfold throughout the globe, the G.A.O. stated in a assertion on Tuesday that the pandemic “highlighted how unprepared the U.S. public health and aviation systems are to respond to public health threats.”
The G.A.O.’s findings carry a sense of urgency this summer season, as tourism and journey have begun to strategy prepandemic ranges despite the fact that the Omicron subvariant known as BA.5 is fueling a surge in instances in lots of international locations.
In the United States, reported instances have been averaging round 100,000 a day — a determine that is likely to be undercounted given an growing reliance on at-home testing and the closures of mass testing websites.
The C.D.C. didn’t instantly respond to a request for touch upon Tuesday. The G.A.O. did word some modifications the company had made, however stated its information techniques still wanted “substantial improvement.” It stated that the C.D.C. had “concurred with the recommendations” in its report, together with that the company redesign its information system or develop a new one.
U.S. authorities have made efforts to hint vacationers who might have contracted Covid-19 overseas. For instance, in late November, when Omicron instances had been rising in southern Africa, officers directed airways to share contact info for passengers who flew from the region into the United States.
The C.D.C.’s information administration system was developed within the mid-2000s, the G.A.O. report stated, and “was not designed for rapid assessment or aggregation of public health data across individual cases.” That hobbled the company, the report stated, which means the C.D.C. “is not positioned to efficiently analyze and disseminate data to inform public health policies and respond to disease threats.”
Concerns have been raised in regards to the world transmission of extremely infectious ailments for the reason that SARS epidemic within the early 2000s.
“More than any other mode of transportation, air travel creates the potential for infectious diseases to move quickly from one part of the world to another,” the report stated.
The information system used by the C.D.C. prompted contact investigations from about 80 to 130 flights every year from 2015 to 2019, and about 25,000 flights in 2020, in accordance to the report.